“What to eat and drink when in Rome”
When in Rome, there is one thing you won’t have to worry about: being able to find a nice place to eat. From family run trattorias and pizzerias, to fancier, hip restaurants, Rome knows how to quench your hunger and satisfy her visitors with her savoury specialties. Roman food is a popular, yet simple one. It is not sophisticated or elaborate, but generous, rich in flavours and character, and full of many mouth-watering recipes.
The typical Roman food has its roots in the past and reflects the old traditions in most of its offerings. It is based on fresh vegetables (the king is definitely the artichoke, whether deep fried, simmered in olive oil with garlic and mint, or “alla giudia”), not expensive cuts of meats (the so called “quinto quarto,” meaning mainly innards, cooked with herbs and hot chilli pepper). It also consists of deep fried, tasty appetizers (such as salted cod and filled zucchini blossoms) and sharp “pecorino cheese” (made from sheep’s milk from the nearby countryside), a very important ingredient in many recipes.
Not to mention the pasta, of course, a staple for every Italian, and therefore every Roman. From “carbonara” to spaghetti “ajo e ojo” (simple but so effective, with its fiery mix of olive oil, garlic and chili pepper), from rigatoni “con pajata” to a hearty, fragrant soup such as “pasta e ceci.”
There are few Roman desserts, and they are mainly connected to festivities (Carnival, Eastern or Christmas). They are definitely worth a try, however, especially the ricotta cake, which is made with fresh ricotta cheese mixed with sugar, lemon, vanilla, candied fruits, pine nuts and raisins.
Fiori di zucca:
Zucchini flowers, deep fried and filled with mozzarella cheese and anchovies.
Filetti di baccala:
a well known appetizer consisting of deep fried salted cod filet.
breadcrumbed, fried croquettes made of rice in Bolognese sauce, filled with mozzarella cheese.
Pasta alla Carbonara:
famous spaghetti served in a sauce whose main ingredients are eggs, “guanciale”( bacon from pig’s cheek), black pepper and pecorino cheese.
Gnocchi alla Romana:
dumplings made with semolina, baked with butter, cheese and nutmeg.
Coda alla Vaccinara:
oxtail stewed until tender and buttery, in savoury tomato sauce.
Pizza alla Romana: thin crusted, crunchy white pizza, served brushed only with olive oil and flavoured with rosemary
Pasta cacio e pepe: pasta in a creamy olive oil, pecorino cheese and black pepper sauce
Pasta e ceci: pasta and chickpeas soup, seasoned with rosemary
Pasta all’arrabbiata: pasta in a tomato sauce, onion and red chili peppers
Pomodori con riso: Tomatoes filled with rice, baked and served with roasted potatoes
Trippa alla Romana: tender tripe in creamy, spicy tomato sauce, served sprinkled with pecorino cheese
Pajata: baby lamb intestines cooked in tomato sauce, also served as topping for pasta( “ rigatoni con pajata”)
Porchetta: suckling pig roasted, with laurel herb, garlic and black pepper, typical from the roman countryside
Abbacchio alla scottadito: roasted baby lamb chops served piping hot
Fave: fresh broad beans, they can be enjoyed fresh and raw with bits of pecorino cheese or cooked with onion and bacons.
Puntarelle: Fresh chicory sprouts served with a garlic and anchovies dressing
Carciofi alla Giudia: artichokes fried in a very special way so that they are soft and tender inside and crispy and crunchy outside. A typical food from the old jewish roman tradition. Its flavour can be exalted by a chilled Frascati white wine. .
Pollo alla Romana: tasty bits of chicken cooked with bell peppers
Saltimbocca alla Romana: Veal scallops cooked with white wine, sage and prosciutto
soft buns with raisins and candied orange peels. They can be enjoyed plain or filled with fresh cream
Crostata di Ricotta:
a kind of cheesecake made with fresh ricotta and candied fruits. Depending on the different versions it is available, raisins, pin nuts and other flavourings can be added.
Ciambelle al vino:
hard cookies in a shape of doughnuts, to be dipped in wine at the end of the meal.