Butternut Squash Farotto

Butternut Squash farotto, a form of risotto, garnished and ready to eat

“Hey, look… we’ve finally got squash!” I say to Allie in early fall, when we’re circling through the Uptown Hoboken farmers’ market and butternut is back. And we make soups, salads, pasta, and so on into the next year. The end of winter comes. We hit a market or a grocery store. There’s a pyramid of squash. “Man,” I say, “if I have to eat another squash or root vegetable I’m going to go insane!” Even then, when we’re tired of the rest, we like to get one last butternut risotto or farotto in before winter ends.

Two roasted halves of a butternut squash

Pancetta pan-fried until brown

Farotto is farro cooked like risotto. Allie doesn’t eat many grain-based foods, but loves farro, which is essentially whole heads of hard-wheat grain. Farro is nutritionally rich. It has better flavor than rice. It can, for me, provide a portal to another world. I spent a summer working on farms and vineyards in Italy. At the end, right before I left for home, I watched a colossal harvester sweep through a hillside wheat field on a farm high in the Apennine Mountains. That grain was of the ancient, hard-wheat variety that comes under the lexical umbrella of “farro.”

Standard risotto is dope. I don’t think I need to elaborate here. Farotto is much easier to cook than risotto, especially when you’re incorporating squash. The reason is that you don’t have to stir constantly, like you do to create the chemical changes in risotto rice that make the standard dish creamy. Here, we’re getting creaminess through olive oil, squash, and (when Allie isn’t looking!) a mountain of cheese.

Plain Butternut squash farotto before any cheese or toppings have been added

Above is a picture of plain butternut squash farotto. I went two ways with this one. First (and first below), I added pancetta, fried sage, and a balsamic drizzle. Second, for the meat-averse, I went old-school with sage and Parmesan. Hope you enjoy this simple but good recipe. You can sub other squash in other seasons. Recipe below!

Butternut Squash farotto, a form of risotto, garnished and ready to eat

Butternut Squash Risotto with f

Actually, we’re going to try something new: farotto recipe after this jump.

Sicilian 75

The ingredients for a Sicilian 75: blood oranges, Prosecco, Campari, and gin

Happy Friday. For this week’s happy hour we’re dipping back into our Campari series and sipping a cocktail called the Sicilian 75. We’ve had a lot of orange coverage lately here on Made in Rome. Allie and I usually go on a citrus kick this time of year. We both eat a ton of fruit, and nothing beats a fresh blood orange in late winter. Nothing but a fresh blood orange turned into a drink!

The Sicilian 75 is a refreshing riff on the French 75. Allie and I are fans of the classic French 75, made from Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. We like to fill pitchers with French 75 variations. And this Campari-spiked variation may be the best of them all.

About to pour the Prosecco into a Sicilian 75 cocktail

How does a Sicilian 75 differ from the classic? We skip lemons for blood oranges (juiced and sliced). We add a splash of Campari that itself adds musk and mystery and an elusive flavor that can take you to lounge-chaired docks on foreign seas.

We skip Champagne for Prosecco. We watch the frothy, white-foam, citrus-fragrant, to-the-top, glorious meniscus pour!

A variation on the French 75, a Sicilian 75, being poured

The Champagne fizz of a Sicilian 75 cocktail subsiding

This is a great drink for brunch. This is a great drink before, during, or after dinner. I adapted a Sicilian 75 recipe from Saveur. You won’t regret filling up a glass or two of these this weekend. Hope you enjoy yours.

What you need:

3 parts blood orange juice, plus a slice for garnish

2 parts gin

.75 parts simple syrup (or honey syrup)

Splash of Campari

2 parts Prosecco

What to do: Put everything but the orange slice and Prosecco into a shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds. Pour into a flute. Add 2 Parts Prosecco… or however many parts bring the surge of froth to the brim. Drink.

A glass of Sicilian 75, an Italian version of the French 75 cocktail, with an orange slice garnish

Escape to Philly

Back view of Allie wearing a blazer and a slung-back bag in a silent alley on a Philadelphia morning

Allie standing in an alley in Philadelphia, wearing a blazer, sneakers, and a Celine bag

Wearing leopard sunglasses and a blazer on a tiny back alley in Philadelphia

Sitting in front of ivy in Philadelphia, wearing sunglasses, a blazer, an

Allie walking as par

Philadelphia street style: Allie with a black Celine bag, a blazer, and sunglasses in Center City

Posing in a blazer in front of a brick all in Philadelphia

Looking down and wearing sunglasses in front of an ivy-covered wall in Philadelphia

J. Crew Regent Blazer, Madewell oversized tunic, Illevesta sunglasses, Adidas sneakers, Celine bag

This weekend we escaped to Philly for a quick trip to visit friends and explore. (Chris and I love exploring cities together, as you may remember from our first post.) We spent most of our time in the heart of Center City, roaming around Rittenhouse Square.

The photos were taken before brunch on some quaint side streets. Since it was just above 50 degrees I was able to ditch my parka and stroll around in a blazer.  I kept my look casual with an oversized button down.

We enjoyed a nice brunch at the Fitler Dining Room, a cute spot with comfort food and drinks.  After brunch we walked through the farmers’ market at Rittenhouse Square and were thrilled to stumble upon our favorite chocolate stand, John and Kira’s.

John and Kira’s is local to the Philly area and makes some of best chocolates we’ve ever had.  They also are beautifully decorated and come in fun designs, such as hand-painted bees, ladybugs, and flowers. Chris sampled a minty white-chocolate winter truffle. We left with 3 praline ladybugs that we’re going to get into this week.   -Allie


Shakshuka (eggs stewed in tomato sauce) with smoked paprika, parsley, and feta cheese

Readers of Made in Rome know by now, a month in, that when Allie and I open a can of tomatoes we’re usually headed straight for our comfort zone: pizza, pasta, or another tasty staple of the country where we met. Ah–but not always!

Shakshuka, one of our favorite foods, comes from the Middle East. It’s a nice meal to have in your recipe arsenal, especially on weeknights when you don’t want to do much more for dinner than crack eggs in a shallow pot of sauce, wait, and let the eggs cook while you relax (maybe with a drink).

For our most recent batch, we used a shakshuka recipe from Saveur.

If you can fry or scramble eggs, you can cook shakshuka. And why not? There aren’t many recipes that reward you so much for sitting on the couch.

A piece of work I do recommend is using bread to swipe the leftover sauce clean from your plate (and pan). Best part of the meal. This bread-swiping finale is called fare la scarpetta in Italian, and it definitely translates to Middle Eastern.   -Chris

A side shot of a pan of shakshuka, a popular Middle Eastern food

A plate of Middle Eastern Shakshuka

A close up shot of cooked egg yolks in a pan of Shakshuka

Classic Negroni

A classic Italian cocktail: the negroni

Welcome to parte due of Made in Rome’s Campari series! Dust off your cocktail shaker, break out that electric red bottle, and be sure you have ice. You don’t need much more for today’s drink, the classic negroni, one of Italy’s oldest and best.

A classic negroni is gin, vermouth, and Campari. (You see thousands of variations today, with bartenders mixing in rosé and mezcal, chocolate and pumpkin, smoke… anything they can get their busy hands and creative minds on.)

The ingredients for a negroni cocktail: campari, gin, and vermouth

A classic negroni is gin, vermouth, and Campari–but also something deeper. If you’re a negroni drinker, wind back the clock to your first taste. What did you think? Here’s what I thought: this nice bitter drink with its sweet citrus edge and fancy glass tastes how I imagined, when I was young, cocktails would one day taste. This was what came out of unknown bottles from unknown places. This was what people in suits and black dresses sipped to jazz. This!–even now–is the impression the negroni creates: a vague sophistication that’s at the wild heart of what a cocktail is.

A classic negroni cocktail with an orange twist

Allie and I served negronis at our wedding. During cocktail hour, we did “his” and “hers” drinks passed around in addition to what was available at the bar. Allie did a nice mulled cider. (It was late December!) I served a variation on the negroni–a negroni sbagliato, which softens the drink’s punch by swapping in Prosecco for gin.

You can try that if you want. I’m a sucker for classics. Here’s how you make the original hard-hitting, Campari-spiked, century-old negroni.   -Chris

What you need:

2 shots gin

1 shot vermouth

1 shot Campari

Orange twists (optional)

What to do: Pour everything (but twists) into a shaker with ice. Shake hard for 15 seconds. Pour into glasses with or without fresh ice. Add twists. Makes 2 drinks.

The Peplum

Allie twirling her hair in

Allie wearing a peplum shirt and sunglasses on the Hoboken waterfront

Allie's red bangle and heart necklace

Allie wearing peplum in front of the NYC skyline

Allie wearing a peplum shirt and jeans on the Hoboken waterfront

Allie wearing sunglasses and a peplum shirt on a nice day

Orange lace-up shoes

Anthropologie Peplum, Madewell Jeans, Topshop Flat another version I love here!

Yes, the trend is back and I’m so glad.  There is something flirty and feminine about the peplum that I just love!  I think it’s a fun detail that could complete an outfit.

The Peplum dates back to mid-19th century, when the style was incorporated into jackets and dresses.  Durning the ’40s Dior introduced the style into luxury fashion. More recently a trend of the ’80s, it was brought back durning the fall 2012 fashion shows.  Currently, I am seeing signs of the peplum coming back, with many stores offering the style through their spring collections.

Many women shy away from the trend, fearing it will increase their waist line.  I believe when worn correctly it actually does the opposite!  Many designers agree and feel it can enhance a women’s body when worn correctly!

This peplum was purchased recently from Anthropologie. (Yes, I am sure you are learning of my love for this store).  Not only did I gravitate toward the body, but the fabric.  It’s raised and textured, different from other tops I own.

I’m also loving other peplums. Obsessing over this jacket peplum, striped peplum tee, and white lace peplum top. You should try one out this spring!   -Allie

NYC Winter Sunrises

Pier 12 in Hoboken with Midtown Manhattan behind (at dawn)

Downtown New York seen from New Jersey at dawn

A flaming yellow glow behind the New York skyline as night turns to day


NYC and the Hudson river at Sunrise


A tree in Hoboken with the sun rising over the Hudson River and NYC behind

Lately I’ve been getting back into photography. I shoot with a DSLR, a Cannon Rebel T2i that Allie got back in 2012. This proved to be a great investment. I learned how to shoot in manual and even photographed a few dozen of the stories I’ve written. But I also shoot with my iPhone, because you never know when the right shot will appear–and the right shot often appears on the Hoboken waterfront.

Allie and I are lucky to live across the river from New York City. Being a block away from the Hudson River never gets old. The view is spectacular, even on foggy days. On clear winter mornings the rising sun paints the freezing air around the buildings water-color orange, flaming red, and a thousand shades in between.

Sunrise runs are incredible. (Having a path along the river turned me into a runner.) Morning walks are striking–but routine! Allie and I sip coffee. We walk our dog. The sun lifts over the glass and water and colors our waterside town.

During those walks I took these pictures. You probably need a tripod and a zoom lens to really nail these shots, but I’ll get there. Hope you enjoy these photos. We have some nice city shoots and stories lined up for the coming weeks.   -Chris

Orange Cake

A plate of orange olive oil cake garnished with almonds and orange zest

An overhead shot of candied oranges on a baking tray

A tray of candied oranges in two colors

An olive oil cake topped with different color candied oranges

Slice of orange olive oil cake

Chris and I have been eating a lot of citrus since it is readily available this time of year. When I found this recipe for orange oil olive cake I was so excited to give it a try.  Although it may seem a little time consuming, you can candy the oranges the day before to save some time. We chose to do everything at once.

The combination of orange syrup (created while making the candied oranges) and olive oil makes for a deliciously moist cake. The cake is subtle. It’s sweet but not that sweet. When I cut my slice I added crushed almonds, which brought a nice texture. Chris and I had a first taste right away. We ate the rest for breakfast throughout the week.   -Allie

Black and White Check

Allie wearing a black and white check oversize sweater

Black Chanel bag and red pants

Fashion shoot on the Highline in New York City

Person wearing an oversize sweater and black leather bag

Allie wearing a Free People Sweater on the Highline in NYC

Allie wearing red pants and an oversize sweater on a bench in New York

Jcrew pants,  Cole Haan booties, Free People oversized sweater, Chanel bag

Happy Saturday! This weekend I’m wearing this oversized sweater jacket in attempt to stay warm and cozy. I picked up this sweater last winter and it has become a staple.  It’s the perfect sweater jacket to throw on and it’s super soft!

I paired it with poppy-colored pants to add some color for Valentine’s weekend. Although these pants are older, I am really into this red, bright poppy color for spring.  I have my eye on these red jeans and this beautiful shirtdress. I have never been a red person, but all of a sudden I’m gravitating toward the color.

Hope everyone enjoys the three-day weekend!   -Allie

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