If you’re lucky enough to be in Rome and fancy hanging out with a young crowd, you could do a lot worse than head to Cafe Del Teatro in Testaccio. Order up an aperitivo – something colourful like Campari – and sit in wonder as a huge plate of canapés arrives with your prosecco. They’re not really canapés of course since those are French; the Italian equivalent are called ‘stuzzichini’ or literally ‘little prodders’ (of the appetite). For anyone with a normal human appetite they do a lot more than prod. Don’t book a dinner reservation for afterwards.
Here are a couple of stuzzichini I’ve come up with which are guaranteed to prod your party guests into demanding the recipe from you.
Olive tapenade wheel
On a floury surface roll out your pastry into a rectangle till it’s 2-3mm thick and roughly 30cm by 20 wide. Spoon out the tapenade evenly over the pastry leaving the top edge clear. Now roll up the pastry like a jam roll and use some egg on the clear upper edge to seal it. With dainty fingers carefully cut the roll into 1cm wide pieces and place in a baking tray lined with bake-o-glide. Cook at 220oC for about 14 minutes.
Sun-dried tomato and parmesan stuzzichino
Preheat the oven to 220oC. Roll out the pastry on a floury surface till it’s about 3mm thick. Cut it into 6cm squares. Fold a square in half to make a triangle. Then from the folded edge make a cut along each side towards the tip, but leave the apex attached. Unfold the square and place a piece of parmesan cheese lengthways from the uncut corner to the uncut corner. Fold the cut edges over each other, seal with a dab of egg, and place a sun dried cherry tomato on the top. Repeat until you’ve finished the pastry or just had enough. Place them all on a baking tray lined with bake-o-glide or something similar. Cook for 10 minutes and serve immediately.