Mar 21, 2009

Crostini with mortadella mousse

The worst part about having a cold is not the stuffy nose, tight chest, thundering cough; it's not being able to taste anything! My sense of gusto (taste) is totally dormant, the palate is momentarily on strike. Foods are all the same, only their different textures and temperatures differentiate them. My life has therefore very little meaning these days.

Fortunately, today the Roman sun is blazing. A bitter tramontana (North) wind, which started howling late last night, has swept all stormy clouds away, and now the air is incredibly clear. From up high on any one the seven hills, the view is spectacular.

E. and I took a long, wonderful walk around the centro storico, and negotiated a steep climb up the steps of the Cordonata to the top of the Campidoglio (Capitoline) hill. We skipped, chasing pigeons and dodged tourists on the piazza designed by Michelangelo, drawing the immense star-motif on the pavement with our feet.
We climbed back down and strolled around with nowhere specific to go, ambling amid flower stalls and open-air markets. We did some grocery shopping, and then treated ourselves to a nice aperitivo at one of my favorite Monti cafes. I had a cocktail called Bicicletta (bicycle) made with Bitter Campari, freshly squeezed OJ on the rocks; while my son snacked on a banana and mineral water. We returned home laden with tasty deli goods. And just in time for lunch.
Since today I also learned how to put a watermark on my photos, that counts as yet another reason to celebrate. So I popped a bottle of spumante and whipped together something to nibble on while E. lunched on his favorite: tiny potato gnocchi dressed in creamy pesto and cow’s milk ricotta. Here’s the recipe for today’s menu: Crostini con Spuma di Mortadella

For 12 crostini:
200 gr (1 cup) mortadella
50 gr (1/4 cup) mascarpone
20 gr (2 tbsp) fresh cream
50 gr (1/4 cup) Salt-preserved capers, rinsed (OPTIONAL)
Unsalted butter
Good, crusty homestyle bread

Cut the mortadella in small shreds and whir it in the blender with the mascarpone and the cream, to obtain a frothy spread.
Cut 12 slices of bread, each 1/2-inch thick, and toast them slightly. Smear each with a thin veil of butter and slather on the spuma di mortadella generously.
Garnish with chopped chives and–if you wish–a couple of capers.


  1. Love this, and what your child is eating too. I hope you get better soon. Yes, we all like to taste and enjoy our meals from procuring the ingredients to preparing the various parts, to sitting down to the final version.

    Get well; you've conditioned us to look at your post before planning the day's repasts.

    I meant to thank you earlier for the lovely comments you have so generously left at my place. Thank you. Grazie mille. Sono fortunata di aver fatto questa conoscenza. How long have you lived in Italy and where excatly did you grow up in?

    Right now, I'm so impressed with your knowledge, your language skills in at least two languages, and your abilities to make friends all over the world...

  2. How lovely, thank YOU. Prompting repasts on our little blogging community, whew that puts quite a responsibility on my shoulders! I'll get my pots n pans hot for the next meal.
    I was born in the US but moved back with mamma when I was 3. Dad tried to stay and work here in Italy, but it was hard. He was an actor, and that life (if you're not a star) is a nightmare anywhere. Directing and screenwriting work, friends and his life in general was in California. He moved back, mom and I stayed here. Inevitably their marriage fell apart too. I went to an International school in Rome; raised Italian at home and Yankee in class, but the cross-contamination happened somewhere in between. I'm both and neither Italian and American... weird.
    And you? Where did you work in Italy and for how long? Dimmi di te adesso...

  3. I imagine you walk lightly, wide strides and flowing hair. I think you must embody life, appreciate what you see.

    The history you are able to touch is mind blowing!

  4. Erin - It is, deeply. Sometimes we lucky ones living in among such beauty and history, forget the true value and take it all for granted. Thanks for reminding me of where I am.

  5. Something new with mortadella. With the mascarpone - craving creamy in the winter. Heaven! I would love some with my wine.