While mushrooms are not typically included in arrabbiata sauce they were a welcome addition here. I used a packet of spices I brought back from Rome that included slivers of dried garlic and chili peppers.
Rome's Palatine Hill, with its views of the Forum below and the Colosseum in the distance, is one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I have ever been. I wandered for hours in the hot sun, among the citrus trees and olive groves, and never wanted to leave.
When I was in Rome last year I spent a day cooking with Daniela del Balzo in her beautiful home. Of the many dishes we prepared for lunch these fried zucchini blossoms were my favorite. I had always wanted to make them. The season for them in New York is way too short, and like many vegetables they never come close in size or shape to those found in Rome. We purchased these at the Testaccio Market and stuffed them with mozzarella and achovies, which melted together into sublimely-salty-softness.
One of the keys to the crispy light crust is the use of carbonated water in the batter. Daniela taught me to spoon the hot oil over the blossoms before turning them over in order to hold their form. They were among the best things I've ever tasted.
The Volpetti Market is an amazing gourmet shop in the Testaccio section of Rome at 47 Via Marmorata. And while I did not enjoy the pigs' legs hanging in the window I thought the cheese selection was spectacular.
If prosciutt0 is your thing then you should check out the Cinco Jotas website for the interesting descriptions of their products.
The owner of this renowned pasta shop in Rome gave me a personal demonstration and explanation of the process. Considering he spoke to me entirely in Italian I understood about half of what he said, but it was cool to listen and observe. Thanks to my friend Daniela del Balzo.