Tasting Rome Cookbook Review

Light on flavor, big on texture

is how I would describe the food style found in Katie Parla and Kristina Gill's book Tasting Rome. Just as you take your first bite of Cacio e pepe, your mouth is filled with the overwhelming sense of powdery melty cheese, spicy pepper, and soft noodles. Don't get me wrong – it's delicious, but don't think of this as a new and improved American-style fettuccine alfredo. Without a doubt, it is not. In fact, nothing in this book is normal American cuisine; it all has a unique style incorporating different flavors and unique textures not seen in typical American-Italian food.

The cookbook begins with a bit of a history lesson taking you back to 753BC and the beginning of Rome, the city. The authors then divulge the secrets of the cookbook: how they came to decide what to include, what cooking equipment you might need, and an explanation of what special ingredients are incorporated into their recipes.

While at first the book may seem daunting, the authors kindly break it up into chunks of description with recipes sectioned off into eight main categories, which doesn't include the useful index found at the end.

• Snacks, Starters, and Street Food
• Classics and Variations
• Cucina Ebraica (Jewish foods)
Quinto Quarto
• Verdure (vegetable side dishes)
• Bread and Pizza
• Sweets
• Drinks

All of this leads to an easy-to-read, well-planned cookbook that you can use for almost any occasion.

Deciding on a recipe

to make from the book seemed easy enough. I sought something somewhat simple that didn't include seafood. And so, for a Saturday night dinner at home, my husband and I got into the kitchen and put together a meal from the Tasting Rome cookbook. We had Cacio e Pepe di Leonardo Vignoli (a Pecorino Romano cheese noodle dish not unlike fettucine alfredo and yet entirely different in every way!), Insalata di Misticanza (mixed greens salad with hazelnuts, parmesan and a lemon dressing), and castagnole (fried dough balls with sugar).

Overall the food was very light in flavor but intense in texture. I tried the salad without the hazelnuts before realizing that they gave it an earthy flavor that grounded the salad but, combined with the lemon dressing, gave it a bright and cheery taste. The cheese noodles might have been plain tasting on their own, but add Pecorino Romano cheese and you have a dark-flavored dish that could also be considered slight spicy and even the smallest bit bitter. My opinion on the book until this point was kind of meh. But then my husband fried up the dough balls that called for orange juice and sambuca, and we were in heaven! Italian donuts for the win? At first he didn't cook them all the way leaving the inside of the dough balls slightly undercooked. While the book calls for the dough to be cooked thoroughly until the dough turns a dark brown, I found that after the undercooked dough balls sit for a few minutes, they taste even better than what I would consider the "overdone" doughnuts.

The book offers far more than salads, noodle recipes, and donuts though! Other recipes you'll find include: a savory pie, fried cod fillets, fried and marinated zucchini, braised oxtail, upside down pizza, and zabaione gelato drenched in coffee.

My one and only complaint is that pictures are very sparse and limited for the recipes. You may see one picture relating to a recipe for every two to three recipes that are shared. How are you suppose to know if you made the food correctly if you don't have a picture to compare to?


If you are looking for a good Italian cookbook, this is a great one! The cuisine feels very authentic and fresh. The ideas shared are unique and fun. And best of all, no matter how picky of an eater you are, you are likely to find a recipe that suits you.

As for me, I'm looking forward to trying the bolognese sauce, the gnocchi, and the sweet buns with whipped cream! Yum! :)

Buy Tasting Rome here.

What are some of your favorite Italian foods? Do you anticipate giving Katie Parla and Kristina Gill's cookbook a look?

* I received this book for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.


  1. Sounds a little too much for me. But I'm sure some good cooks would find it useful.

    1. Too much? Nah! It was easy! (Says the one who got her husband to cook it for her.) Just follow in my footsteps! (And get someone to cook it for you!) :) Hope you had a good weekend and enjoyed time away from school. :) Summer break soon, right?

  2. Clearly the authors of this cookbook are no bloggers - otherwise it would be full of gorgeous pictures! I totally agree, in order to decide on a meal (cook yourself or order) a nice picture helps!
    Now you've left me hungry. Good thing it's only half an hour till our Mother's Day Brunch. Happy Sunday! 💝

    1. Too true! Nothing is more enticing than a good picture!

      What'd you have for Mother's Day brunch? I hope the time spent with the ones you love on Sunday made you feel as special as you are. :)

    2. Can you believe I didn't even get around to do a post on Mother's Day? We had home made Zopf bread, Pacific wild salmon, Champagne, camembert, spinach, green asparagus and strawberry salad and home made strawberry cheesecake. Not too shabby, right?


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