It is usually 5.30am once we drive alongside the Through Appia Antica, on our strategy to Ciampino airport and often working late. Rattling over basalt cobbles smoothed by 21 centuries of site visitors, and previous excessive, stone partitions overhung with bushes and hiding villas and catacombs, it appears like time journey earlier than extra journey, on the 6.50am flight.
Inbuilt 312BC, Through Appia was the primary lengthy street constructed particularly to move troops south, and was later prolonged so far as Brindisi in Puglia. After the autumn of the Roman Empire, the as soon as nice consular street declined: some elements had been left to go wild, others included into different roads. Nonetheless, sections of the traditional street, such because the stretch leaving Rome, remained an essential route for individuals and issues going out and in of the town.
One of many essential issues stepping into was wine, made for greater than 21 centuries now, from grapes grown within the fertile, volcanic soil round a bunch of cities known as Castelli Romani on the foot of the cool, enchanting Alban hills: frascati, marino, albano, genzano, grottaferrata, ariccia to call however a couple of. Whereas white wines comprised of grapes equivalent to malvasia and trebbiano are intently related to this space, the immense vineyards have at all times produced purple grapes, too: cesanese, aleatico, sangiovese, merlot and montepulciano. Cesanese specifically, which many consider to be a grape that’s indigenous to the Lazio area and named after the city of Cesano, could be fantastic, violet-coloured and tastes of black cherries, rose and juniper, and in addition recent, quite than plodding. Additionally, making an allowance for the simplistic however efficient concept that what grows collectively goes collectively, cesanese is an effective match for the meals of Lazio and Rome. Additionally it is the purple wine we regularly drink at house, so it’s what I used for in the present day’s recipe, spaghetti ubriachi con vino rosso e cipolle, which interprets as “drunk spaghetti”, though I choose “merry” with purple wine and onion.
The precept right here is like Venetian onion and anchovy “salsa” in that the onion is just not fried however stewed, first in butter and olive oil, then in a beneficiant quantity of wine, which reduces, leaving the onion smooth, creamy and the color of bishops’ socks. You should use purple onions, however then you definately received’t have the satisfaction of watching the white ones change color.
Whereas a few of the wine will evaporate, removed from all of it’s misplaced throughout the simmering, which is why it’s best to cook dinner with what you take pleasure in ingesting. And the proportion misplaced could be changed by ingesting a glass. You’ll be able to, after all, use any wine you want, but when yow will discover some, I recommend travelling to Lazio and returning with a bottle crammed and merry with cesanese.
Spaghetti with purple wine and onions
Prep 10 min
Prepare dinner 30 min
1 giant onion (ideally white or brown), or a bunch of spring onions
3 tbsp olive oil
300ml purple wine, cesanese for desire
2 tbsp grated parmesan, plus additional to serve
Peel and trim the onion, then slice it into half-moons. (If you happen to’re utilizing spring onions, trim off the darkest ends, then slice the bulbs and pale inexperienced elements.)
In a big, deep frying pan for which you may have a lid, soften the butter with the olive oil over a medium-low warmth. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, stir, then cowl and depart to cook dinner down gently.
As soon as the onion is smooth, add the wine and depart it to simmer for about 25 minutes, till the liquid has lowered and the consistency is creamy. Stir often, and if at any level the combination appears dry, add extra wine or slightly heat water.
Whereas the onions and wine are simmering, cook dinner the pasta till al dente, then carry it instantly into the onion pan and toss energetically. Add two tablespoons of grated parmesan and some grinds of black pepper, and toss once more, including slightly of the pasta water to deliver the whole lot collectively. Serve instantly, passing spherical extra cheese for many who need it.