Willem Dafoe and his Italian wife 

In Rome, you often bump into people you thought you’d never meet: one such person was Willem Dafoe, the American actor well-known for his bad guy roles. He married an Italian girl and lives in a house near the Pantheon most of the year. 

The first time he ate at Armando’s, he’d come with a couple of our dearest customers who really wanted him to try our Roman cooking. 

He’s always recognized when he comes in and each time it happens, someone stands there, mouth gaping, then exclaims, “Holy cow, check who that is!” before rushing into the kitchen to seek confirmation. A guy went up to him once and, with a cheeky grin, said, “Hey handsome, if you’re Defoe then I’m Spider Man!” 

Dafoe got up, shook his hand and replied, “Pleased to meet you SpiderMan!” 

What can I tell you about him? He prefers to nibble, not in large quantities, but likes lots of variety. 

He adores Roman-style artichokes, all kinds of pasta, scottadito suckling lamb and my world-famous Torta Antica Roma. I have nothing else to add, except for the recipe for bruschetta with stracciatella cheese and Sciaccia anchovies, which I dedicate to him. 


Bruschetta con stracciatella e alici di Sciacca
(Bruschetta with stracciatella cheese and Sciaccia anchovies) 

Ingredients (serves 6) 

12 1⁄2 slice of crusty white bread
500 g of cow’s milk stracciatella cheese
100 g chopped Bronte pistachio nuts 400 g Sciacca anchovies in oil parsley to decorate 

is recipe is so easy I’m almost embarrassed to describe it. is said, there is perfection in simplicity and I can assure you, this bruschetta will make the perfect impression on whoever you make it for. 

So, toast a slice of bread on a cast iron grill plate. If you manage not to burn it, spread the stracciatella cheese and lay on a couple of anchovies. Serve on a plate, sprinkled with the chopped Bronte pistachio nuts. Decorate with the parsley and extra-virgin olive oil. A lunch that starts with a bruschetta this good is a guaranteed success. Enjoy your meal.