Roma’s Last Minute Turkey Tips

If you’re reading this, it’s not too late! The fact that you’re seeking help two days before Thanksgiving is a sign that, well, you really need it— which is okay! Martha didn’t become an all-things-home-and-cooking expert without seeking advice from others, and we don’t expect you to either! So, if you’re coming down to the wire, here are some helpful tips from our kitchen to yours! Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey

  1. How To Select the Right Size Bird: Although a turkey is rather large, a lot of what you see is bone. When selecting a size, figure 1 – 1 ½ pounds of turkey per guest. Also account for leftovers and whether or not you or your guests may want them. Plan ahead, but if that bird is frozen when you buy it, your main mission in the next day is to defrost it immediately!
  2. Speaking of defrosting, most turkeys you’ll find in-store are frozen. It’s recommended to defrost your turkey in your refrigerator, as it’s too cold to permit bacteria from growing. And, if you have the time to have it defrost in there— it’s best to place the turkey on the bottom shelf, on a rimmed sheet pan in case it drips. The rule of thumb is a day for every four pounds of turkey. You most likely don’t have 3-4 days to let your turkey defrost that way. So, if you have a day, place your turkey in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. Submerge your frozen bird under cold water (not warm or hot, this will promote bacteria growth) and just wait, it’ll happen eventually.
  3. Clean your turkey! We have heard horror stories of people cooking their turkey with the giblets inside! Yes, there’s a package of giblets inside your turkey’s cavity that must be removed before cooking. Also, rinse off your turkey under cool running water and pat dry.
  4. Now, for the pan… select a heavy, sturdy stainless steel pan to cook your turkey. Why? These types of pans will last you a lifetime, plus it evenly distributes the heat, and will be able to handle the weight of your bird. You’ll want to look for a pan that will just fit the size of your turkey, with sides that come up about 3 inches, just to catch any juices that might be flowing during the cooking process. We also recommend looking for a pan that comes with racks (you’ll need these regardless) and one with handles, you’ll need all the help you can get with lifting it once it’s done!
  5. Let it roast! There are no hacks or shortcuts to this one. You’ll want to always roast your turkey on a rack set so that the juices can drip down, and not interfere with the bottom of your bird (the last thing you’ll want is a soggy bottom). Those drippings are going to be very beneficial throughout the cooking process. In fact, after the first hour of roasting, you’re going to take those drippings and baste your turkey with them to keep the meat moist and to make sure your turkey’s skin has an even color (plus, these juices will also be used if you’re making homemade gravy.) You will want to roast your turkey until your instant-read thermometer (that will be inserted into the thickest part of your turkey’s thigh) reads 165 degrees. At which point, you will remove your turkey from the oven and cover it loosely with aluminum foil, for about 30 minutes. DO NOT CUT your turkey until it has time to rest (a minimum of 30 minutes).
  6. Enjoy, pour yourself a drink— you just roasted your turkey and prepared a Thanksgiving staple a couple days before the big day and you deserve it!
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6 Tips to Help You Stay Sane During the Holiday Season

With Halloween just a couple days away, we have officially passed through the starting gates of the holiday season. For many, this time of year brings mixed emotions. First off, we’re excited— it’s the holidays! Which are full of fun, tradition and memories and, then, the second thought is anxiety— it’s the holidays— which means cleaning, cooking and all the stress that comes with it. However, this year it’s going to be different for all of us. Why? Because we are going to take time to mentally prepare for what lies ahead now, versus 20 minutes before your Thanksgiving guests arrive. You owe it to yourself! Here are 6 tips to help you stay sane during the holiday season!

  1. Don’t Wait Until Last Minute: This can be a hard rule to follow, but it is the golden rule. You will be amazed with what some thoughtful planning and preparation can do for you. Even if it’s sitting down now (yes, right now!) and making a list of what you’re planning on making for Thanksgiving. By putting these details into writing, you’re starting the whole thought/planning process and it will help ease the burden of figuring it out later. Also, don’t wait until a few days before T-Day to decide on your turkey situation; you should have an idea of where it’s coming from and how you’re preparing it two weeks before.
  2. Take Time for Yourself: I know, with what time, right?! We get it. But there’s a rule of thumb when it comes to entertaining: “A happy host makes for a happy meal.” Nobody likes a miserable, stressed and angry host. It makes everyone uncomfortable and it personally ensures that your holiday is awful. Do what you need to do for yourself a couple weeks before the big event to help ease the stress the day of.
  3. Exercise, Mediate, or Get Active: One of the most effective ways to manage stress is through both exercise and meditation. In fact, some of most efficient ways to help you stay calm in the moment are derived from walking, jogging, swimming, baking (well, something simple and that you enjoy making) and painting.
  4. Practice Deep Breathing: When your body is under stress, it causes quick, shallow breathing. Both your body and brain need oxygen in order to function properly, so take time to breathe in deep breaths when the tension levels start to rise. Trust us, it works!
  5. Mind Over Matter: Your imagination is a pretty powerful tool and it definitely helps when you’re in a chaotic situation. When things are literally hitting your fans pans, because you’re cooking, use your imagination to take you that happy place which will help you focus on the task at hand versus all the details surrounding the moment. You’ll be surprised what some willful thinking can do!
  6. Don’t Do It Alone: Just because your Great Aunt Sally can cook every single dish, and always insists on not having her guests bring anything, doesn’t mean that you have to. In actuality, having your guests bring dishes adds to the tradition and holiday experience that we all love know and love. P.S. if you don’t trust your guests’ cooking or just want to handle it all by yourself, there’s always Roma’s! We offer everything you need for Thanksgiving, from appetizers to the whole meal— we’ve got you covered and we won’t tell anyone!

All holidays come with some level of stress, but by planning ahead (no, we’re not kidding about taking time for yourself), you will be in a better mental, emotional and physical place when it comes time to entertain. Enjoy every moment of your holidays with our 6 sanity saving tips!

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The Real Difference With Homemade Mozzarella

Unless you grew up around handmade foods, or are very familiar with Italian delis, you might not be too keen on the difference between fresh, homemade mozzarella and the packages you see at the store. What’s the real difference anyway? We’ll tell you.

fresh mozz

Depending on what product you purchase, the cost of any cheese, even mozzarella, can be a more expensive item. So, that’s why choosing the best product for your money is always key! Additionally, there is a world of difference between fresh and store-bought mozzarella. The best way to find that out is to do your own taste test comparison and see for yourself. So what are some notable differences between the two? 1) The liquid (or lack thereof) that it has in its packaging. Genuine homemade mozzarella should be surrounded in its own buttermilk, which is white liquid with a fresh and aromatic taste. 2) Fresh mozzarella should not be refrigerated. Why? Refrigerating it will simply ruin the cheese and won’t taste the way it’s intended to. This of course means that a majority of us have never actually eaten authentic mozzarella or even know what it’s actually supposed to taste like!

Fear not, you can always find fresh mozzarella at Roma’s, but just in case you wanted to make it at home, we can help you do that as well! Okay, so the first thing you’re probably going to ask yourself is, “How in the world am I going to have time to make mozzarella from scratch?” Okay, fair enough question; most of us don’t have much extra time at all. But, the answer is yes, it can be done and it only takes about 20 minutes.


  • 1 ¼ c. water
  • 1 ½ tsp citric acid (sold at Roma’s)
  • ¼ rennet tablet or ¼ tsp liquid rennet (sold at Roma’s)
  • 1 gallon of either whole or 2% milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • Combine 1 cup of water and citric acid until dissolved. In another bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup of water with rennet until dissolved.
  • Warm your milk by heating on stove-top. Stir in your citric acid mixture and warm to 90 degrees, stirring gently.
  • Remove pot from heat and gently mix in the rennet mixture. After 30 seconds, stop stirring, cover the pot and let stand for 5 minutes (without disturbing it).
  • After 5 minutes, your milk will have set. If it’s really liquidy, re-cover the pot and let sit for another 5 minutes. Once your milk has set, you’re going to cut uniform curds. This is done by making several parallel cuts both vertically and horizontally to create a grid pattern. Ensure that your knife reaches the bottom of the pan. (If you want to skip this step, we also sell cheese curds at Roma’s as well!)
  • Now, you’re going to cook the curds. Return your pot to the stove and place over medium heat. Warm the curds to about 105 degrees. Stir slowly, but be careful not to break up the curds up too much. The curds will ultimately clump together.
  • Remove the pot from heat and stir gently for another 5 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, ladle the curds into a microwavable bowl. At this point, you will be separating the curds from the whey.
  • Microwave your curds for 1 minute. At this time, you’re going to drain the whey. They may be hot, so if you’d like, put on rubber gloves, and fold the curds over themselves a few times. In this state, the curds will look similar to cottage cheese.
  • Now, microwave your curds for an additional 30 seconds and check their temperature. If they have reached a temperature of 135 degrees, you will begin to stretch the curds. If they haven’t, continue to microwave in 30 second increments until they reach the internal temperature of 135 degrees.
  • At this point, you’re going to form the mozzarella. Sprinkle the sea salt over the curds and use your fingers to mix in thoroughly. Use both hands to fold and stretch the curds repeatedly. Eventually, they will start to firm up and look glossy. At this time, you will shape it into a ball, or several balls, it’s up to you!, but try not to over-work the cheese.
  • Storage: In an air-tight container, place your fresh mozzarella. Mix together a tsp of salt with a cool cup of whey and pour this over the mozzarella to keep moist.
  • Enjoy!

Don’t feel like reading the instructions? Watch Frank Bolognino make fresh mozzarella from scratch here.

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Roma’s Famous Cheese Pizza: Tips From Our Head Chef & The Recipe Too!


From our kitchen to yours! (1)

Depending on where you go or order pizza from, you’re most likely going to eat a different pizza at each location. Pizza is one of those things where dough, type of flour and water (who would have guessed it) actually make a big difference! We wanted to get the scoop on how Roma’s Head Chef, Paul Higgs, makes his famous pizza that’s available every weekday at the Latham location!

So, let’s start from the beginning, what do you do first?

PH: “You have to start with the foundation, which is your dough. We use Nino’s dough, and let me tell you, ¾ of the battle is finding the right dough!”

Sometimes, when I’m making pizza, I notice that it’s really hard (and the dough often rips) when I am trying to stretch it out and the dough is still cold. What are some tips when it comes to stretching out dough and putting it on your pan?

PH: “I recommend taking the dough out 45 minutes ahead of time to let it warm up to room temperature. Before placing it on your pan, put a cooking spray/oil on it. I personally use shortening. Make sure that you put enough (oil/shortening) on the corners or, otherwise, your pizza will stick. Another tip when stretching out your dough is to make sure you do it from the center out. By doing so, you’re making sure that the amount of dough across the pan is even.

Alright, dough— check! Now what about the sauce? Being an expert, what do you recommend?

PH: “Well, you need to have a good sauce— whether you make it yourself or you buy it. Truth be told, I use the spaghetti sauce, not pizza sauce!”

That’s interesting! What’s the difference between spaghetti and pizza sauce?

PH: “Spaghetti sauce has more basil rather than oregano, which makes it a little sweeter. Whereas pizza sauce typically has more oregano and either very little basil or no basil at all!”

I didn’t know that! So, for an at-home pizza-making venture, we’re talking 12-cut, rectangular pan, how much sauce would you recommend using?

PH: I would recommend probably use a cup and a half.

Great! Now, the cheese, how much should we really use?

PH: “The final thing for me is cheese. To be honest, I typically have no preference on what brand to use, but I use a lot! I am all about extra cheese. Personally, I like the way it comes out! For a 12-cut, I use about a pound and half or more! My rule of thumb is that when I make a cheese pizza, you shouldn’t see the sauce!”

Now we’re ready to bake it! Not all of us have professional grade ovens, for those who are making our pizza at home, how do you recommend getting the perfect pizza?

PH: “If you are using a regular, conventional oven, you should be mindful of any hot spots your stove may have. This means, that certain areas within your oven get hotter than others, which causes uneven cooking. I recommend setting the temperature to 475 degrees, and placing your pizza on the bottom rack for about 10-15 minutes and then move to top rack for about 10 minutes until you notice your cheese is starting bubble and turn slightly brown. And, there you have the perfect pizza!”

All this pizza talk would make anyone hungry! Find Roma’s Famous Cheese Pizza recipe below!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 and ¼ lb Roma Pizza Dough
  • 14 oz. jar of your choice of spaghetti or pizza sauce
  • ¾ or 1 lb of Roma’s store-made fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch of oregano
  • Grated Romano cheese
  • Shortening for pan

How To Make:

  • When dough is room temperature, grease 12×17 sheet pan with shortening. Make sure you grease raised edges of sheet pan.
  • Preheat your oven to 475.
  • Stretch dough, from center out, on a floured counter. Transfer to greased sheet pan. Stretch dough to edges.
  • Spread Extra Virgin Olive Oil on dough
  • Spread your choice of sauce on pizza, leaving at least an inch untouched, as this will be your crust.
  • Lightly sprinkle oregano.
  • Place shredded mozzarella on top.
  • Place your pizza on the bottom rack of your oven for about 10-15 minutes, after which, you will transfer your pizza to the top rack for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven when your cheese starts to bubble and turn brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Enjoy!
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Roma’s Summer Favorites

Summer is in full swing and the heat has officially been turned up! Italian food is not all hot soups and heavy pastas. It’s time to bring Italian cuisine to your back yard. With a focus on seasonal vegetables and LOTS of olive oil, it’s time to let Italy do the cooking. We’ve compiled some of our favorites and we hope you’ll incorporate them into your menu!

Fried Caprese Salad

What’s not to like about fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, sprinkled with kosher salt and drizzled with the finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil? We take it to the next level by frying up the Mozzarella using some panko bread crumbs!

What You Will Need:

  • 1 large tomato – sliced into 3 – 1/2″ rounds
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 Ball of Fresh Mozzarella – sliced into 3 – 1/2″ rounds
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • Balsamic cream

What To Do:

  1. Season tomato slices with salt and pepper and place onto a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, egg, and panko into 3 separate shallow bowls for dredging.
  3. Dip tomato slice into flour. Lightly tap to remove excess. Dip into egg and then into panko. Transfer to plate and continue with remaining tomatoes.
  4. Into a medium sized skillet add oil and heat over medium heat. When hot, add tomato slices and cook for approximately 30 seconds on each side OR until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt.
  5. To assemble: tomato, mozzarella, 3 basil leaves. Continue with two additional layers. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic cream.

Recipe Courtesy of Paula Jones

Summer Italian Pasta

This light yet hearty (is that even possible?) pasta is a summertime favorite. Skip the sauce and incorporate fresh seasonal veggies and you’ll be a rock star at your next summer dinner party.



  • 1 pound tube pasta
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, roasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pasta water
  • Get a large part of boiling water ready and salt it nicely. I like to use about a tablespoon of kosher salt per gallon of water. You can just eyeball, but the water should taste salty.
  • Cut off the thick stems on the rabe and dunk it in the water for 60-90 seconds until it is just wilted, but still has a tiny bit of crunch. Then drain the rabe and let it cool.
  • Save the water in the pot (I just pull the rabe out with tongs) so you can cook the pasta in the same water.
  • Once the rabe is cool enough to handle, roughly chop it up.
  • The second ingredient is tomatoes. I do not use any sort of sauce for this recipe, but I do roast about a pint of cherry tomatoes and add them in. These little guys add an intense tomato flavor without making the dish really heavy with a thick sauce.
  • I just half the tomatoes, drizzle them with olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast them at 400 degrees F., cut side up, for about 20 minutes. They will be lightly charred on the bottom and wilted.
  • Third is the sausage. A spicy Italian sausage obviously brings a lot of flavor to the dish. The key to cooking the sausage right for this dish is to start them on fairly low heat so they slowly cook and render out the fat in the sausage. Brown them for about 5-6 minutes per side.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package!
  • Once the sausage has browned on all sides, take it out of the pan and cut it into disks. It’s possible that the sausage won’t be completely cooked through at this point, which is fine. Toss it back into the pan with the garlic and a drizzle of oil if the pan is dry. Keep the heat on medium-low and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes to finish cooking the sausage.
  • It’s important to stir regularly at this point or you’ll burn the garlic.
  • Then you can stir in the broccoli rabe!
  • While there are three ingredients that make up the backbone of this Broccoli Rabe Sausage Pasta, the most important ingredient is none of them. It’s actually the pasta water. This water is starchy and salty and perfect for making a light sauce in the pan.
  • Once the sausage and rabe has cooked for a minute or two, pour in about 2/3 of a cup of the pasta water. It’s best to do this right before you drain the pasta so it’s as starchy as possible.
  • Then add in your tomatoes and all those ingredients will essentially make a very light sauce.
  • Then just toss in your drained pasta! Don’t worry about draining the pasta perfectly. Some liquid with the pasta is good to keep the sauce going.
  • Stir that all together well (tongs are your friend) and season the dish with salt, pepper, fresh oregano, and lots of Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve that up and you’re in for a treat!

Recipe courtesy of Macheesmo Cooking with Confidence


Olive Oil Gelato

Read the name again. Tell us you aren’t drooling. We dare you.

Serves 2 to 4

  • 3/4cup sugar
  • 1/4cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4cup whole milk
  • Large pinch salt
  • 4egg yolks
  • 1/4cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a medium-size saucepan stir together the sugar, water, milk, and salt and heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks until frothy. Continue beating whilst pouring in the combined liquids in a thin stream, then return the mixture to the pan. Carry on stirring with the pan over a low to moderate heat until the custard thickens to a loose custard sauce consistency or reaches 185 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (Take your time and take the pan off the heat, if needed, because you don’t want to scramble the egg). Immediately pour the custard into a bowl and set the bowl in an ice water bath. Stir until the mixture is cool. Transfer to a lidded container, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil in a thin steady stream — the mixture should thicken and turn smooth. Taste the mixture and decide if you want to add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil — the oil flavor will become more prominent as the ice cream ages, so keep this in mind. Churn in an ice cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions. Eat right away, or transfer to a container and freeze until ready to eat.

Courtesy of Amanda Hesser

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Pancetta and Chicken Penne with Mascarpone


Pancetta and Chicken Penne with Mascarpone


  • 6 ounces Pancetta sliced thick and diced
  • 1 lb Penne Pasta
  • 1.5 cups Roasted Peppers (from jar)
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1.25 lbs roasted Chicken Breast, shredded
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


  1. In a large skillet, cook Pancetta over medium heat until crisp, drain on paper towel and set aside
  2. Pour grease out of skillet but do not clean skillet
  3. Cook Penne to al dente texture and drain
  4. Puree the peppers in a food processor and transfer to skillet with Mascarpone and Chicken
  5. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thoroughly blended and heated.
  6. Add cooked Penne to skillet with Chicken and Sauce. Toss to coat Penne and stir in Pancetta
  7. Serve topped with toasted walnuts and freshly grated Reggiano Parmigiano

(To toast walnuts, spread on baking sheet and bake at 350* for 9-11 minutes or until aromatic and lightly browned.)

Serves 4

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Asparagus Tops and Prosciutto


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Pancetta Frittata

roma_recipe_Pancetta Frittata_website

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12 Dishes of Christmas

Nothing says, “it’s the holidays!” like your favorite homemade dishes. We’re talking about the honest-to-goodness meals you ate growing up, always looked forward to coming home for and, now, what you pass along with your family traditions. We’re sure you already to know this, but at Roma, two of our favorite things are family and food. Everyday we share our homemade recipes with you, so we want to see yours!

Now through December 23rd we are asking our fans to Private Message us, on Facebook, their favorite Italian recipes. If social media isn’t your forte, no worries, we will have a recipe jar located at our deli counter at our Latham location for your submittal.

The tasty holiday cheer doesn’t end there! Once we’ve collected all the recipes and selected the ones that we will feature online and in-store, we will make a “fan”ily-inspired cookbook available as a gift to our loyal patrons in early January 2015.

Have questions? Message us on Facebook or call. We look forward to seeing all your recipes!

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Meet Frank— The Man Behind The Meat

Roma Foods is like no deli that many have ever encountered. As you walk in, you immediately feel a sense of family; you feel its heartbeat, dedication and see its patron loyalty. In a world where convenience usually outweighs quality, Roma Foods is at the pinnacle, by offering only the best products, service and taste. Frank Bolognino, the proud, eldest brother of four, whom all have a hand in both locations, had something to do with that.

“I took over the location in 1974 after my father died. I was 20 years old and no idea how to run the business, it was a lot of trial and error, but I think we turned out alright.” Although Frank and his brothers grew up in Roma Foods, being the newly appointed owner definitely resulted in a learning curve. “I played on boxes, when I was real young, and worked the counter when I was fifteen, but beyond that, I had no real ownership experience, I was a kid. I dropped out of college to come home and take care of the family business.”

Frank is loyal— he believes in his business, his devoted patrons and his family, who inspired his love of it all before he even realized it. His passion for excellent, authentic Italian cuisine started when he was just a child. “We would go to my grandmother’s house quite often, she lived on a farm and we had fresh meat and handmade pasta.” He smiled as he recalled a lesson he learned soon after he took over his father’s business, when a customer reminded him that quality always prevails no matter the cost. To this day, Frank only sells and serves the best foods at both the Latham and Saratoga locations.

In an industry where competition keeps cropping up, Frank has learned that the hard work and time that he has invested into Roma is well worth it. “It’s extremely rewarding to be my own boss, having the respect of the community, building a reputation— it’s my life, I’ve been doing it for 40 years.” As for his goals for Roma Foods, he just wants to keep going and making people as happy as possible, with no plans for retirement any time soon. His advice for anyone planning on opening a deli— “Be prepared to work tough and long hours, not enjoy your holidays, but know that it’s all worth it in end!”

Roma Foods has two locations both in Latham, NY at 9 Cobbee Road, Latham, NY 12110 and in Saratoga Springs at 222 Washington Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. You can order over the phone, check out their menus or learn more at



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