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Pianostrada Laboratoriodicucina in Trastevere

Pianostrada Laboratoriodicucina

Pianostrada Laboratoriodicucina in Trastevere: a guest post by Katie Parla.

Trastevere was once a haven of cheap, delectable, no-frills dining, but in recent years, the district has become a bastion of tourist traps in which cheesy checked tablecloths and aggressive touts are far more numerous than great meals. This district, which lies on the Tiber River’s left bank, opposite the Centro Storico, is undeniably attractive, in spite of its grim dining offerings. Its warren of medieval streets are punctuated with Renaissance churches and appealing piazzas. The whole place is so painfully beautiful no one in Trastevere needs to serve edible food to draw visitors. So most don’t!

This is what makes the arrival of Pianostrada Laboratoriodicucina, a casual cafe in the heart of Trastevere, so supremely unusual and desperately necessary. When it opened in late May, locals rejoiced at the fresh food and kind service that immediately set Pianostrada apart from its tourist trap neighbours. The place is the work of four partners: Chiara Magliocchetti, Paola Colucci, and her daughters Flaminia and Alice. These women saw an opportunity to provide quick and delicious meals and dedicated themselves to serving quality food made with excellent ingredients, all rare features in the surrounding city blocks.

Pianostrada Laboratoriodicucina

The menu consists of salads, sandwiches (both open faced and closed), pasta, snacks and sweets. The food is prepared in an open kitchen and can be eaten at the long, bar-like seating area trimming the kitchen, or at one of the high wooden tables on the opposing wall. The ingredients are sourced mainly from Lazio, the region of which Rome is the capital, right down to the organic flour used to bake the various types of bread baked in house – olive oil, cured meats, cheeses and craft beers are selected by Vincenzo Mancino of Di Origine Laziale, a restaurant and deli in Rome’s eastern periphery. Mancino is a champion of small, local producers and is trusted by the city’s top dining venues to curate their cheese and salami selections. Pianostrada serves these local delicacies on their various sandwiches, as well as assorted meat and cheese plates.

Other ingredients are culled from producers from beyond Lazio’s borders, like the mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella, both sourced from southern Italy. Cod, a typical Roman ingredient, is imported from northern Europe. Cod features in Pianostrada’s signature Baccaburger, a sort of fish patty on squid ink bread dressed with house made mayo, confit tomatoes, arugula and zucchini flowers. The menu at Pianostrada changes to reflect the availability of raw materials, like a later summer prosciutto and fig focaccia or pear and pecorino pairing.

The portions are on the larger side, but be sure to save room for dessert, all made in-house. Alice runs the pastry department and bakes assorted cookies, brioche, krapfen and cakes. She also whips up fresh items like ricotta mousse with seasonal fruit and tiramisu with figs and pine nuts. There is a small selection of wines and craft beers to pair with Pianostrada’s made-to-order fare.

Pianostrada Laboratoriodicucina
Vicolo del Cedro 26 Roma
+39 06 9521 5045

Text and photo credits: Katie Parla

Here are some places Katie talks about in our podcast:

 Pepe in Grani


Address: Via della Meloria 43
Telephone: +39 0639745416

 Where to find Katie:


Apple Pie with Oat Streusel

Apple Pie with Oat Streusel

It's October and it's apple baking season for me. I know, I's the week of Halloween and I should maybe be posting something cute with ghosts or even pumpkin shaped cookies.

I'm really bad at baking things for special holidays. Unless it's Christmas...because we just love to bake Christmas cookies and Christmas breads.

But back to Halloween! I did come across these adorable cupcakes with ghost meringues on top that I wanted to bake for the kids. I also found this chocolate cake (that looks so luscious) with ghost meringues...spooky cute!Who knows if there will be any time to make them by this Friday. Let's just say, there are spooky baking plans!
Apple Pie with Oat Streusel

To return to my favorite baking discussion: apple baking! You must know that apple desserts are my favorite sort of desserts to bake! This month our #TwelveLoaves baking group chose apples as a theme! I baked this delicious apple harvest bread. And in case you need some other apple ideas, here are some other apple desserts to inspire you:

Apple Pie with Oat Streusel

Apple Pie with Oat Streusel

Now don't be too finicky and fret that you don't know how to make a pie crust. It's completely ok to buy a ready-made one. There will not be anyone judging your decision. But I will say, the homemade pie crust is not that difficult to make. It's ok if it doesn't roll out perfectly. It ends up getting baked with all the incredible apples and cinnamon and oh, my gosh! That oat streusel topping. It's out of this world! You will find yourself walking by and sneaking bites. You will have to push your husband out of the way to get to a bite because he will be there just getting a little taste. It's really that good! So, so good!!

Here is a link to a great video from my friend and baker extraordinaire Abby Dodge explaining how to crimp a pie crust.

A huge shout-out to my talented daughter for photographing and editing these photos!!

This pie crust recipes makes two portions. I bet you will be using the other portion of the dough not too soon after this one quickly disappears!

Apple Pie with Oat Streusel
  1. pie crust-
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  5. 3 tablespoons margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
  6. 1/4 cup ice water
  7. apple filling-
  8. juice of 1 lemon
  9. 5 to 6 medium to large apples (I used Golden apples)
  10. 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  11. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  12. 4 tablespoons butter
  13. 3 tablespoons jam (I use strawberry or apricot)
  14. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  15. oat streusel topping-
  16. 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  17. 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  18. 1/4 cup sugar
  19. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  20. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  21. 7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  22. 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

  1. To make pie crust-
  2. Hand Method- In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1-tablespoon bits and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, work flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water little by little pressing the pastry together into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. It is very important to work the pastry as little as possible. Don’t over handle. A secret to light, flaky pastry is to keep the mixture cool, add as little water as possible, and mix only as much as necessary.
  4. Food Processor Method- Put flour and salt in bowl of machine. Cut butter and margarine into flour. Process a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.
  5. While pastry is chilling, make apple filling and streusel topping.
  6. Apple filling-
  7. Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the whole apples.
  8. Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Toss the apples in the corn starch. Set the prepared apples aside.
  9. In a medium-sized skillet on medium heat, toss in the brown sugar and butter. When the butter has melted, add in the berry jam. Toss the apples into the brown sugar mixture. Cook them in the mixture for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while and prepare the topping.
  10. Streusel topping-
  11. Blend first 5 ingredients in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, blend until moist dough forms (mixture will resemble wet sand). Add oats; using on/off turns, mix briefly, leaving half of oats whole. Set aside.
  12. If pastry has been chilled for a long time, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
  13. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  14. Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
  15. Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1/8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate. There will be some of the pastry hanging over. You could trim a little around with scissors and leave enough to crimp.
  16. Fill with your apple filling.
  17. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over filling.
  18. Place pie on baking sheet.
  19. Bake pie until crust is golden brown and juices bubble, 50 minutes–1 hour. *My pie was ready at 45 minutes. Every oven is different. I didn't want my topping to get too brown.
  20. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Torta di Mela e Prugne (Apple and Plum Cake)

Torta di Mela e Prugne (Apple and Plum Cake)

One of the best recipes I learned to make from my mother-in-law is her torta di mela. She sometimes makes a torta di mela e prugne, or apple and plum cake.  Teresa is quite the baker and there usually are not any recipes to follow. Since apple desserts are my favorites, I have to see that this is apple and plum cake is one of my all-time favorite cakes!

Teresa has her favorite recipes memorized and she whips them up in her tiny kitchen with fervor and ease. Although my in-laws made me feel a part of the family from the first day they met me, Teresa's recipes were not a part of the deal! At least not in the very beginning. It took time and trust for Teresa to start to bake with me and to share some of her culinary secrets. I think it was when she saw that I wasn't making her precious son just pancakes every day (yes, she thought we were eating pancakes for breakfast and lunch), she started to have faith in me and realized I was worthy of sharing some of her ideas and treasured creations.

Torta di Mela e Prugne (Apple and Plum Cake)

This is another version of the apple cake Teresa usually makes. She sometimes makes it with butter, and it is quite amazing! This version is with olive oil and yogurt. You could use vegetable if you don't like the flavor of the olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil).

This recipe is adapted from my rustic apple cake.

Some more apple inspirations for you:

Apple Orange Marmalade Crostata

Torta di Mela e Prugne (Apple and Plum Cake)
  1. 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour)
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. pinch of salt
  4. juice and zest of one lemon (I used Meyer)
  5. 2/3 cup sugar
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1/2 cup olive oil
  8. 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  9. 2 medium apples, peeled and cored
  10. 4 plums, pitted and sliced into small pieces
  11. 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  12. 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan with removable bottom. Dice one apple and slice the other apple into thin slices (reserve these slices to place on top of cake batter before baking). Add the apple pieces and slices into a small bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over it; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Toss in the lemon zest and with your hands, mix it into the flour mixture to release the lemon essence.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until creamy (about 5 minutes). Beat in the olive oil and the yogurt. Mix well.
  4. Add flour mixture into the yogurt mixture a half up at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with spatula and mix well after every addition.
  5. Mix the diced apple and plum pieces into the batter. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices over the batter.
  6. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar and thin pats of butter on top of the cake and bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Check cake at about 40 minutes. Every oven is different. If cake is browning, cover with aluminum foil for remainder of baking time. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from cake pan. Best served warm.

Anna Prandoni: Keeping La Cucina Italiana Magazine Very Cool!

Anna Prandoni

It was a hot and steamy morning in the Lombardy region of Italy. Even though my in-laws live close to the mountains, there are mornings where the cool air dissipates by 7AM. When the air is cooler, there are mornings I enjoy a coffee in silence on the balcony with my father-in-law. I take in the scene and early morning sounds surrounding me. This morning was a different morning than the others. We were rushing off to catch a train to Como with a final destination in Milano.

The train arrived punctually and we were really looking forward to spending the day in Milano with our daughter, and of course, showing her the behind-the-scenes of this iconic Italian magazine. Through a Twitter friendship started a few years back, I was invited by Anna Prandoni, the mythical editor of my favorite magazine.

I was saddened when I received the last issue of the English version of La Cucina Italiana magazine earlier this year. My only consolation was knowing I could at least take care of my La Cucina Italiana magazine fix on my summer visits to Italy. It has always been the first magazine I look for as soon as I see an edicola anywhere in Italy.

photo credit: I-Italy

Anna is a powerhouse of a woman. Humble and bursting with ideas and energy. As we walked around La Cucina Italiana HQ, she explained to my husband and I how she has been working for La Cucina Italiana for more than 10 years. Anna started out organizing the events of their cooking school. She then moved on to be the director of their cooking school and also the editorial coordinator for the La Cucina Italiana magazine entered Italian households in 1929. In 2013, Anna was promoted to be the editor of this mythical magazine. What did Anna choose for her first La Cucina Italiana cover? Un panino...yes, a sandwich! Anna has managed to find the way to balance the kitchen of her nonne with the trends that are happening today.

Anna loves Twitter probably as much as I do. She is a self-proclaimed twittermane. She even uses this social medium forum to share her recipes in 140 characters.

@Cucina_Italiana recently launched a new bread baking idea with the hashtag #BakingBread. I'm a bread baking addict and since 2012 have run a bread baking group named #TwelveLoaves.  I loved seeing this tweet:

 If you are planning an upcoming visit to Milano, you must check out La Cucina Italiana's cooking school. They offer classes in English and have several classes in the morning and in the a range of topics, from pizza and focaccia to homemade pasta to favorites from Milan's region of Lombardy to Italian sweets, with courses held in the school's gorgeous stainless-steel kitchen.

As we walked around talking with Anna, my daughter snapped all the photos.

The pastry chef preparing a plum dessert for their September issue.

Behind the scenes was very exciting to see!

Where can you find Anna on her free time? Follow Anna on @milanosecrets. Anna and her friend Emanuela (Emanuela also works for La Cucina Italiana), share where you can find the can't miss addresses of Milano!

A big thank you to Anna, Manu and all of the lovely staff that makes La Cucina Italiana magazine so beautiful. We enjoyed our day with you and can't wait to return!

Apple Harvest Bread - #TwelveLoaves

Apple Harvest Bread

I've been dreaming of apple desserts for weeks. What a treat to wake up on Sunday morning to our first autumn cool front (in most other places, it was an actual cold front) and to this gorgeous apple harvest bread. But it is  beautiful, nonetheless, and I will take this temperature drop any day.

This dessert maybe looks daunting and unapproachable, but really, it's not that bad to put together!!

If you could make the dough, you could put this gorgeous bread together.  I've been dreaming of baking this recipe for over 2 years. What stopped me from making it? I have no clue.

What is all this apple dreaming about? #TwelveLoaves October, of course! Our monthly baking group couldn't wait to bake with apples all month long!

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and run with the help of Heather of girlichef, which runs smoothly with the help of our bakers.

Our host this month is Heather from girlichef, and our theme is Apples.

#TwelveLoaves: Apples
Apple Harvest Bread

Maybe I was afraid it wouldn't look as gorgeous as the one I saw on the King Arthur Flour blog and on this blog. It could be because I've been baking more and more yeast breads each year, I couldn't remember why I didn't bake this sooner.
Apple Harvest Bread

I did follow their challah bread recipe and didn't use the one I usually make. This is a challah dough with honey instead of sugar. Although I always add a little bit of sugar to my yeast when it's proofing. It's what my great-aunt used to do and it's a baking habit I can't break. I also decided to cook my apples a little bit in the cinnamon sugar. I wasn't too excited about baking with completely raw chunks of apples. I like my apple desserts with very soft pieces of apples. I was envisioning a bread almost like an apple pie.  A twist on all the apple cakes I bake. Like this one and this one.

Apple Harvest Bread
  1. 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  2. 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  3. 4 cups flour
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon sugar
  6. 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, safflower preferred
  7. 1/4 cup honey
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  9. filling-
  10. 2 medium-to-large apples, NOT peeled; cored and diced in ¾" chunks (I peeled some)
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  13. egg wash-
  14. 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  1. In a mixer, with a dough hook attachment, add the warm water and yeast. Mix until blended. Add the sugar and mix about a minute. Slowly mix in 1 cup of the flour until combined. Mix in the eggs one at a time until they are combined. Add another 2 cups of the flour, oil, honey and salt. Mix together on medium-low speed stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the rest of the flour (the remaining 4 cups) and mix until combined. Stop the machine as you add each cup of the flour to scrape the sides of the bowl and incorporate the flour. Mix on low speed for 12 minutes until dough is incorporated. Be sure to give your mixer a break, as you don’t want to burn it out. Add flour if needed 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough will be a little sticky but also firm.
  2. Take dough out of mixer bowl. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl (when I put the dough in the bowl I swish the dough around the bottom of the bowl and then flip it over so all of the dough is covered in a light film of oil. I use vegetable oil). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1-1 1/2 hours).
  3. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan that's at least 2" deep. Or grease a 9" or 10" springform pan.
  4. Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, and flatten it into a rough rectangle, about 8" x 10".
  5. Spread half the apple chunks in the center of the dough.
  6. Fold a short edge of the dough over the apple to cover it, patting firmly to seal the apples and spread the dough a bit.
  7. Spread the remaining apple atop the folded-over dough.
  8. Cover the apples with the other side of the dough, again patting firmly. Basically, you've folded the dough like a letter, enclosing the apples inside.
  9. Take a bench knife or a knife, or even a pair of scissors, and cut the apple-filled dough into 16 pieces. Cut in half, then each half in halves, etc. This could become messy because the apple pieces will start to fall out. (Not to worry if pieces do fall out while assembling. Simply place them on top. )
  10. Lay the dough chunks into the pan; crowd them so that they all fit in a single layer (apple pieces may fall out. Tuck them in between the dough pieces and place them on top. I had a few extra dough chunks leftover, and added them to a mini rectangular baking pan).
  11. Cover the bread gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it's a generous 2" high. It should just crest the rim of a 9" round cake pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325°F.
  12. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the dough with the egg mixture
  13. Place the bread in the lower third of the oven. Bake it for 55 minutes, or until the top is at least light brown all over, with no white spots
  14. Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges and carefully transfer it to a serving plate.
  15. Best served warm but even great the next day.

Super Easy Cranberry-Coconut Granola

Cranberry-Coconut Granola

There are some things that I just completely LOVE. I mean, LOVE. One of the things I completely love is granola. Yes, granola! I know, I never talk that much with you or anyone I know about granola.

Because, it's granola! But today I was talking about granola with my American expat friend that lives in Italy. We chatted about how yummy granola is and how she has never made it.

I explained to her that she has got to make it! The reason being, it's so easy to put together! Really, super easy! Most days, when I make granola, it's after taking a quick inventory of what I have in my baking cabinet. I always for sure have oats. I hardly every make oatmeal and oatmeal cookies, so I wonder why I always have oats...but I have them! So, check! Have the main ingredient: oats.
Cranberry-Coconut Granola

Next, I glance around and see what fun nuts I have and dried fruit. Since it's fall, I most definitely had dried cranberries. Look how pretty and sparkly they are in the light...they look like gorgeous rubies!

Now, here is a little secret! I always have ground flax seed and toasted wheat bran. Why is that a secret? Because my daughter would most likely not be interested in eating this if she knew those two ingredients were in her granola. Because they don't sound that appealing to most teens. So I keep that my secret and it gets all mixed up with all the other fantastic ingredients to make the most delicious granola!
Cranberry-Coconut Granola

Very important tip when baking with coconut...please, PLEASE...don't leave the kitchen when you add the coconut and say, "I'll be right back. I have to take a call." Or, "Let me just check my messages or tweet something.". That is a big no-no! You have to stay right there in the in front of the oven. Leave the oven door closed for 2 minutes. But on the 3rd minute, open the door and check out your coconut. Is it starting to turn brownish? Ok...your granola is ready! Depending on your oven, that may happen on the 4th minute. But I'm warning you. Browned, or worst yet, burned coconut, tastes absolutely horrible! And after all, you're finally making your own granola...don't mess it up.

So you didn't mess up the coconut part, what do you have awaiting you? The most tasty and fun breakfast idea. Or snack or a quick mid-morning energy treat. It's healthy from the oats, the seeds, the flax seeds and toasted wheat bran. If you want to use 1/4 cup apple juice and 1/4 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil), instead of 1/2 cup coconut oil...that's fine. I'm not crazy about the flavor fro the apple juice. Change it up with other dried fruits or nuts. Impress your friends and family. It tastes better than any store-bought granola and costs so much less! If you only want to add the ground flax seed and skip the toasted wheat bran, that's fine! Just have fun with this granola and make it often!

Adapted from Whole Living. 

Super Easy Cranberry-Coconut Granola
  1. 2 cups regular rolled oats
  2. 1/4 pumpkin seeds
  3. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  4. 2 Tablespoons flax meal
  5. 1 Tablespoon toasted wheat bran
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. Pinch of salt
  8. 1/2 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  9. 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  10. 3 Tablespoons honey
  11. 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional when adding dried fruit
  12. 1/2 cup coconut chips (to be added during last few minutes of baking)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with baking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the oats,pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, flax meal,toasted wheat bran, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.
  2. In a small pan on medium heat, combine the coconut oil (or vegetable oil), maple syrup, honey, brown sugar. Whisk together the ingredients and let simmer for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the mixture is fully combined and moist. Spread the mixture on the greased baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and stir around the granola (break up any large chunks that may have formed). Bake for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and add the coconut chips. Bake another 2-3 minutes (not any longer, or the coconut will brown and taste horrible).
  6. Remove from oven and stir it around again. Let it cool. When totally cooled, stir in an airtight container.


Marco Romeo from StrEat Palermo and 5 Can’t Miss Palermo Street Foods

 Palermo Street Foods

Every city has its own attractions that can't be missed by visitors. You can't miss a walk on the ancient walls of Jerusalem while visiting Israel. When in England, you can't miss the English pubs and its poetical mood hidden behind a pint of a delicious ale beer. When you’re in Venice, it’s impossible to miss a walk around the alleys at night. These are attractions that simply can’t be missed!
 Palermo Street Foods

When you come to visit Palermo, you definitely can't miss a street food experience.
 Palermo Street Foods

When I say “experience”,  I mean because a StrEat Palermo tour is an experience! Because street food isn't just food! Every single street specialty of Palermo will tell you a story, a legend, or the entire history of Mediterranean civilization. Here is a list of the best 5 street food specialties you can't miss during your stay in Palermo.
 Palermo Street Foods


Fasten your seat belt, take a bite, and get ready to travel straight to the past! You are traveling all the way back to the tenth century. Welcome to the Islamic emirate of Sicily! The Arancina, whose name comes from the fruit “arancia” (orange), is a crunchy golden rice ball stuffed with minced meat and peas. It was brought by the Arab colonization in the tenth century. The original recipe is now cooked only in Palermo and its surroundings. You can find another variety of arancina stuffed with “ragù”, (minced meat cooked in tomato sauce) in Catania and Messina. This variety is also known as “arancinO”, male version of the original “arancinA”.  Arancina must be eaten at room temperature, never hot!

 Palermo Street Foods

Pani ca'meusa

 This is one of the most shocking street foods for tourists. I also call it the king of Palermitan street food. Simply delicious, with an extraordinary strong taste ;)

It consists of a mix of “meusa” (veal spleen), “polmone” (veal lungs) and “scannaruzzato”  (veal throat gristle)  boiled, slighlty fried in pork fat and finally served in a soft sandwich called “vastedda”. It's sold by street vendors called “meusari” in the alleys of the city center. Pane ca meusa: you either love it or you hate it...nothing in between.

We have two varieties: single (with lemon) and married (with ricotta cheese). It must be eaten hot.

Sfincione (from latin: spongiam, “sponge”)

The sfincione is a very soft dough pizza sold in the streets of Palermo by the “sfincionari”. Sfincione are very thick and soft, coloured with red tomato sauce and minced onion. This is the street food specialty that tourists usually like the most, and I’ll tell you why they are so beloved. The sfincione has the ability to capture your heart before delighting your palate. The delicate taste of the sauce and the pleasant mildness of the dough are simply unique. We also have a homemade variety with an additional flavor given by anchovies and caciocavallo cheese. Sfincione are best enjoyed at room temperature.


Before revealing to you what you get when you order stigghiole, I need to emphasize one important aspect of this amazing street food.

I love stigghiole for one main reason: the irresistible smell of the smoky barbecue coincides exactly with the irresistible taste that you feel in your mouth when you take the first bite.

Now...what's stigghiole? Stigghiole is veal intestine wrapped around a barbecue stick. Stigghiole are grilled, salted and served in a plate with a slice of lemon. Drops of fresh lemon juice lessens the intensity of the taste of raw meat. Stigghiole must be eaten hot.

Pane e Panelle

Panelle are square shaped chickpea and parsley fritters, fried and served in a sandwich.

Pane e Panelle (sandwich with panelle) is the main snack consumed by students during the half day break at school. Every school has its own renowned “panellaro” waiting outside and ready to fry and quickly wrap as many sandwiches as he can before the school bell rings again! Pane e panelle often has a welcome friend: cazzilli. Cazzilli are mashed potato croquettes with parsley and mint. Pane, panelle e cazzilli...what a team!

by Marco Romeo

all photos credit to: Marco Romeo: StrEat Palermo Tours

I came across this photo on Marco's Facebook page and the Sicilian story he wrote to go with it. It brought me back in time to the days I spent in Sicily. It even brought me back very recently to this past summer and my zia Pina's house. My zia Pina was ordering fish from the fish vendor that came by her street in his ape. She was bickering with him from the 3rd floor. Arguing with him about the quality of the fish and the price. I wondered how in the world could she tell how perfect or not so perfect the fish was from such a distance. But, oh...she knew. She knew! Finally the sale was complete and I listened to her and the fisherman exchange one last banter in Licatese. I watched the basked make it's slow and sure ascent and I asked my zia if she needed me to help her pull up the basket. She looked at me as if I were joking. She assured me with a smile that she didn't need my help. How could I doubt what she had been doing for decades.

Here's Marco's memory about his grandmother and the bread vendor, written in Italian and in Palermitano.

"MARCO! CALACI U PANARU O FURNARO!". Passavo pomeriggi interi dalla nonna Anna in attesa che mi convocasse per la calata del panaro. Tra le losanghe in ferro battuto, dall'alto di quel terzo piano di via Marco Polo, vedevo sbracciare il sig. Furnaru, un pupazzone bianco farina che dirigeva la calata "vai vai vai vai...SSSSSSSTOP!". Io, in puntissima di piedi, lo osservavo maneggiare il cesto con ingegnieristica cura, perché attenzione signori! Il peso andava distribuito bene! Bastava una mafaldina messa male e alla prima tirata BRUUUM! U panuzzu ntierra! E poi va siantila a me nonna!
"VAAAI!" Eccolo il segnale che aspettavamo. Si, nn ero solo, per la tirata dovevo sgomitare con mia sorella. Il segreto era quello di anticiparla nella presa dello spago, ma anche quello di sopportare le sue tirate di capelli e le lancinanti gomitate sui fianchi.
Parte la salita del panaro.

Tricchete-tracchete-tricchete-tracchete "VAI VAI...ARACIU ("adagio", ovvero:il panaro oscilla più del dovuto, rischia caduta pane)...VAI...APPOSTO! Salutami la Sig.ra Cartaino". Io nn gliela salutavo mai la Sig.ra Cartaino, ma nn per male, ma perché non la conoscevo! Solo 20 anni dopo scoprii che la Sig.ra Cartaino era me nonna.

Eravamo quasi al termine dell'operazione, mancava solo la presa del cesto. Per l'ultima tirata io e mia sorella adottavamo la stessa tecnica dei pescatori di mattanza. Io afferravo il manico del panaro, mentre lei mi arpionava ai fianchi con le sue affilatissime unghia e tirava dentro! BOOM!

Le mafaldine calde calde ansimavano all'interno del cesto, mentre all'esterno io e mia sorella ce la ridevamo! Eheheh!
e la nonna Anna? "Mi scuiddavu i broscine! CALATICCILLU ARRIARI!"

For an authentic street food experience in Palermo check out StrEat Palermo tours.
Here is where else you can find Marco: