10 Jun


(in other words, Renato’s Easy & Fabulous Tomato Sauce)

Renato of Renato & Luisa, a restaurant/trattoria near Campo de’ Fiori, has been a lot of things in his life– army helicopter pilot, law student, karate expert– but this son of a famous Testaccio butcher eventually followed the gravitational pull into the kitchen. Without formal training, Renato has become one of Rome’s most creative and celebrated young chefs.

My private cooking class with Renato was an experience I’ll never forget. Renato moves around the kitchen with the swiftness and agility that must have gotten him that black belt, and when he talks about food, his eyes sparkle like the bubbles in a glass of prosecco.

Our menu that day included; **an antipasto of soft goat cheese balls rolled in walnuts, striped with aged balsamic and golden honey and pierced with slivers of grana padana. **gnocchi made with ricotta instead of the more usual potatoes and a tomato sauce that comlemented those light puffy pillows perfectly. **filet mignon in a sauce of port wine and plump prunes.

The recipe for gnocchi will take some translating for accurate measurements, but Renato’s tomato sauce which I helped make and then duplicated successfully at home in the States is amazingly simple and guaranteed to become one of your favorites.

renatos sauce


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced leek (bottom white part)
about 1 cup halved grape or golf-ball size tomatoes
2 cups canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 large whole garlic clove, peeled
about 1/3 cup fresh basil

Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet
Add carrots and leeks, sauté for a few minutes
Add fresh tomatoes and garlic clove
Add canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and salt and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until carrots and leeks are soft. Remove garlic clove.
Pour into food processor or use immersion blender and puree.
Return to skillet to re-warm.
It’s positively squisito!

But for the real thing, visit Renato & Luisa in Rome.
RENATO & LUISA, Via del Barbieri, 25, Phone 06 6869660, www.renatoeluisa.it.
Dinner only, Closed Monday

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