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  • Writer's pictureLaura Botten

Recipes from Rome... Sneak Peek of My Book and Its Recipes!

One can't write a novel titled A Recipe from Rome and not include a few recipes in the book!

April Appleby only wants two things in life: to get over her ex-fiancé, and to figure out her late mother’s secret ingredients. Problem is, her ex keeps texting, and she's lucky if she doesn't burn toast. When she hears from her old friend Simon Becker for the first time in fifteen years, she finds herself reuniting with him in the culinary capital of the world: Rome. The perfect place for both romance and recipes.

While I put the finishing touches on my debut novel, due this summer, I want to whet your appetite with a preview of the recipes you'll find in the book. Which ones will you cook up? Comment below on which recipe you'd like to see in full during pre-orders of my book, and I'll share the most popular one on this blog before release day!

Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to be the first to find out when A Recipe from Rome will be out! New subscribers will get "A Taste of Italy" instantly... my free gift to you!

Without further ado, a sneak peek at my novel's recipes:

Frittata di Spaghetti... a.k.a. Spaghetti Pie

One of the more complex recipes in the book, this satisfying dish is worth the effort! The main character April Appleby goes from being kitchen-incompetent, to dreaming up cooking a complex spaghetti pie! Can she do it? Maybe with the help of an attractive Italian named Giovanni...

Developed by: April Appleby during a cooking class

Key ingredient: The sausage is what makes this pie truly savory, but adventurous chefs like you might find yourself adding your own key ingredients!

Story snippet:

My pupils contract in the sun, and I look Gio right in the eyes, lowering my head and leaning in as if I’m about to reveal a juicy secret. “Spaghetti pie.”

“A dessert pasta? You love la dolce vita too much, bella. The judges… they faint!” As if the unobstructed ball of fire in the sky isn’t melting me enough, he flashes a charming smile that threatens to turn me into a puddle.

“Not a dessert; it’ll be a savory pie. It’s all the joys of regular spaghetti without the need to twirl a fork.”

“It is a trick to cut the pasta!” He pinches my chin and kisses me on the cheek. “I think it is probably delicious. You should do it.”

Turkey meatballs simmered in a special secret sauce

Don't worry... the secret in the sauce will be revealed! In fact, the main character April tries to uncover the secret ingredient of her mom's famous tomato sauce throughout the pages of the book. In the end, the secret ingredients add a touch of sweetness and a bit of texture, and I think you'll love how the flavors compliment each other!

Developed by: Ms. Appleby

Key ingredient: The secret sauce

Story snippet:

“Oh, how have you survived for three whole weeks without spaghetti?” She’d winked at me before folding the last of the laundry. “Sure you’re not tired of it? I can make something else. Spaghetti’s so… simple.”

“No way, never,” I said, grabbing a stack of towels and shoving them in a most untidy way in the narrow linen closet. “No one makes it like you. Tastes like Grandma used to make it.”

“Well, she taught me an old trick a long time ago. And one day, I’ll teach it to you. Secret’s in the sauce.”

Lasagna layered with a secret cheese blend

Christmas dinner in the Appleby household was always centered around lasagna. April finds herself longing to cook her late mother's Christmas lasagna once she gets back from Rome, and finds the secret ingredient in a place where she least expects it!

Developed by: Ms. Appleby

Key ingredient: The secret cheese blend

Story snippet:

I step onto the sunbaked Roman sidewalk, heading back toward the cheese shop.

It's not long before I encounter my first hurdle. The woman is gone. The cheese sits behind the glass counter in darkness. I can still picture her dark eyes meeting mine for the briefest of moments, her lips curled into the slightest grin as she sorted cheeses I’ve probably never even heard of. This isn’t a job for Google—it is a job for a professional cheese expert. I walk the nearby streets, scanning for her white shirt and dark hair, but it’s as if she fell through a black hole. Another hurdle: after my impromptu search for a random cheese goddess, I’ve knocked myself off course. I am most certainly lost.

Thick & Creamy Italian Hot Chocolate

Once you've had Italian hot chocolate, you won't go back. The character Giovanni Antonelli shares this family recipe with April. This hot chocolate is so thick and creamy, you can dip your favorite cookies or fruits in it! Made with dark chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon, sugar, and-- well, I can't give everything away! The secret ingredient in this one might just blow your mind.

Developed by: Giovanni Antonelli

Key ingredient: This is top secret... you have to wait for the book for this one!

Story snippet:

Even after dipping, the cookie remains quite dense and hard, turning the scene before me into a silent film, but instead of hearing a piano soundtrack as Gio talks, I hear crunch crunch crunch. Submerging my next cookie longer is a good move, as I can now hear perfectly well that he’s coming on to me.

“You need private cooking lesson?” He crunches into a cookie, his confident smile rhythmically noshing it into oblivion.

“How hot does your stove get?” I move my seat next to his, our thighs inches apart.

His eyes challenge mine. "You will sweat.”

Italian Cheesecake Snowballs

Cheesecake is another recipe that April Appleby tries to recreate while in Italy. Her mother used to make cheesecakes for her birthday, and it's while tasting a unique gelato flavor in Rome that she is able to identify the secret ingredient her mother used in the batter. Turning them into bite-sized no-bake snowballs was a fun way to incorporate the holiday spirit!

Developed by: April Appleby and her mom

Key ingredient: While the special secret ingredient will be revealed in the book, the crumbled biscotti cookie crust is a must!

Story snippet:

My mom, her blond hair pulled back into a thick pony tail, slices each of us a generous hunk of cheesecake, the three of us huddled together around the small kitchen table at our humble Appleby household in a quiet suburb of Chicago. Roy Orbison’s voice echoes out of the tinny speakers of her old record player that stubbornly persists to keep working all these decades later.

Simon eyes his slice as it’s placed before him. “I’ve been looking forward to your birthday for months.” His laugh sputters out of him, crinkling his brown eyes, sparkling with anticipation.

I slice off a piece on my fork. “Becks, I’ve been looking forward to it for three-hundred-sixty-four days.”

Which recipe do you want to see first?

While you'll have to wait until the book comes out to see all the full recipes, I plan on sharing one or two before the book goes on sale! Comment below on which one you'd like to see, and I'll share the full recipe during pre-orders of my novel!

And make sure to sign up for my free monthly newsletter to be the first to see the book's cover and find out when it will be released! New subscribers receive "A Taste of Italy" for free instantly! It includes even more recipes, a Spotify playlist, reading recommendations, and more!

Laura Botten is releasing her debut novel A Recipe from Rome in the summer of 2023. Sign up for her monthly newsletter for book updates, book reviews, recipes, and fun Italy content. As a thank you, she'll send "A Taste of Italy" straight to your inbox instantly!

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