Renella is my favorite place to buy bread or to have a quick lunch. I featured their famous filone napoletano in the 20 breads of Italy page, but can’t stop there because this bakery not only makes amazing bread, but their pizza a taglio and their cookies and cakes are also out of this world. I always used to come here for lunch when I was working in Trastevere and now look for excuses to come back and have a few squares of this fantastic pizza.
I came here the other day for lunch and though I was tempted by the pizza topped with cicoria and sausage, or with zucchini flowers, anchovies and mozzarella, I decided to keep it simple and not offend people with my anchovy breath. I went with a pizza rustica farcita, which is a baked puff pastry filled with spinach and ricotta, and a piece of pizza with tomatoes, olives and oregano, which always reminds me of the focaccia I had when I was living in Basilicata.
If I ever move back to the States, one of the many things that I will miss about Italy is going to the bakery and asking the baker to cut me a piece of bread, half of a filone, one quarter, pointing to the loaf and saying, “that much”. Maybe things have changed, but generally when you buy artisanal bread in the States, you are obliged to buy the whole loaf, and you don’t necessarily eat the whole thing, leaving it to get stale or moldy. My Dutch-Jewish background leaves me with a feeling of guilt if I throw food away, I hear my mother’s voice saying, “Waste Not, Want Not”, which just kills me.