Country cooking, or what we like to call “peasant food” is at the heart of all great cuisine.  Cooking traditions to a large extent define people’s identities and way of life.  What they cook is typically influenced by the characteristics of the region, and ingredients found locally. Italian cuisine, like any other, varies greatly depending not only on the cook, but by the inspiration and availability of local ingredients.  Italy, with its 20 distinct regions, offers specialties in every town and village.  Dishes vary as widely as the dialects and customs of each.

This week, we spent some time with Aimee Pellegrini, Restaurateur of La Romanza Bistro Italiano in Seattle.  Aimee was raised in the kitchen, at the apron strings of her chef father and pastry chef mother who both learned the simple methods of Italian cooking from the matriarch of the family, Nonna Marcella.  Hailing from the Ciocaria area of Lazio in central Italy, their focus is on local, traditional, seasonal ingredients. Aimee tries to emulate that in her own kitchen.  Faraona Arrostito, or Roasted Chicken, is a signature dish at Aimee’s restaurant.  It has all the features of the kind of peasant food we love.  It’s uncomplicated, fresh, and as beautiful as it is delicious.

Visit Aimee at La Romanza,  where you’ll enjoy Jazz Nights in her bistro, fabulous Italian recipes paired with great wines at dinner, or enjoy her Venetian style afternoon tea.  She has over 70 fine teas to choose from, many of which are blended in house.

Check out our video this week, where Aimee and I make her Faraona Arrostito together. You can also find the recipe here.

Buon Appetito!