The beautiful area historically called Sabina lies in the middle of Central Italy, in a portion of land that covers almost entirely the current province of Rieti and extends along the Tiber River, to include part of the province of Rome and some municipalities of the provinces of Terni and Aquila.
A very large area, therefore, that ranges from Lazio, Umbria, Abruzzo and that is affected — in its food preparation – by multiple local influences with a mixture of all the traditions of the people who populate the villages and the countryside for centuries.
Food and cuisine in Sabina are popular and simple, generally robust and flavorful, very rich recipes and traditional dishes, often based on typical products of high quality such as extra virgin olive oil, chestnuts, mushrooms, truffles, potatoes, meat, vegetables , but also cheeses and a wide variety of cured meats.
The local olive oil deserves a special mention, with its DOP appellation and its nickname of ‘gold of Sabina‘. It is light amber and fruity, with hints ranging from fresh artichoke to almonds. The cold pressing of the olives, harvested just prior to their maturity and treated within 24 hours, is one of the secrets of a product now popular all over the world.
In the area, both in the local restaurants and at home kitchen, meals normally begin with a starter cured meats, such as pork loin, ham and capicollo, often accompanied by bruschetta, enriched with truffle sauce or grated truffle.
With regard to the first course, pasta is the protagonist as usual in Italy: egg tagliatelle, pappardelle, cannelloni, ravioli and following a rural tradition, strengozzi, strozzapreti, fezze and falloni all made from flour and water only.
Meat has also an important role with typical recipes of mountain mutton, lamb, sausages etc. But it’s from breeding pig that comes one of the most popular specialties of Rieti: the porchetta, something that has become a real classic in the whole region of Lazio.
Cheeses are made from the milk of cattle raised in the mountains. There is a good choice of both soft and matured cheeses: the local pecorino, mozzarella and ricotta are among the finest in Italy.
A meal cannot end without a sweet touch…and the local cuisine has lot to offer with traditional recipes using nuts and dried fruit.