When in Rome, eat as the Romans do!

After 4 years of living in Italy, eventually I finally got it – always keep it local! If YOU want to eat like a king and enjoy to maximum, be smart and have some local specialties. Which means –  in Rome or Firenze have some meat, in Liguria enjoy a fresh fish and always focus on finding an authentic food no matter where YOU are!

If YOU follow this rule, then I promise, YOU will eat really well!

So now – are YOU ready to enjoy the delicious traditional cuisine while vacationing in Rome?

When in Rome, eat as the Romans do!

The key is to focus on the seasonal ingredient!

Typical ingredient and flavours of Roman dishes:

  • a sauce are made with pancetta or guanciale – pig’s cheek
  • vegetables such as artichokespeas, chickpea and fava beans)
  • meat – lamb, pork
  • cheeses – Pecorino Romano – a bit salty and delicious and Ricotta – slightly sweet.  
  • baccala – salted cod.

Roman cuisine is the food of the people flavoured by lard and olive oil and based on Rosmary and mint and other delightfull flavours and spices and herbs.. It has also been influenced by the Jewish immigrants.

Artichokes

Antipasti: 

  • Bruschetta – simple and the best for any occasion. I love it as antipasto but also a great snack during a day, nothing heavy but with a glass of a white wine it is a perfect marriage! It is basically a grilled rustic bread rubbed with a garlic, drizzled with an olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of salt. YOU can add tomatoes or pesto or whatever YOU prefer!

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Prime Piatti – pasta:

  • Bucatini all’amatriciana – Bucatini is a pasta like spaghetti but ticker and with a hole in the centre. This shape of pasta allow the sauce to get easily stuck in each delicious bite. This pasta is often called just “Amatriciana” and is made of a tomatoes, peperoncino, guanciale (pig’s cheek) and Pecorino Romano. Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta which has an origin in a town of Amatrice. This one of the most famous and well-known pasta I must confess, I  adore Amatriciana! Sometimes I dream about the perfect symphony based on Amatriciana and red wine, the perfect match which I never miss while visiting Rome.

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  • Spaghetti alla carbonara – very popular dish in England but the Roman verse is very different. The Roman classic is based on eggs, cheese – Pecorino Romano, black pepper, guanciale (pig cheeks) sometimes pancetta is used instead of guanciale.
  • Penne all’arrabbiata – it is a spicy sauce made with chilli peppers, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil.

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  • Spaghetti cacio e pepe – this pasta dish didnt strike by attention for years at all. I guess because it sounded too simple. But I tried it few days ago, and I loved it! It is a simple idea but sometimes in a simplicity is the beauty and charm. Spaghetti cacio (Pecorino Romano – cheese) e pepe (black pepper) is a very delicious choice!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Spaghetti cacio e pepe
Spaghetti cacio e pepe

Side Dishes:

I eat Carciofi very often also as an Antipasti (Apetizer):

  • Carciofi – The artichoke ( il Carciofo) is THE Roman JOY. There are 2 famous ways to prepare it. One is “Alla Giudea” ( Jewish Style) and one is “alla Romana” ( Roman Style).
  • Carciofi alla Giudia – if YOU want to eat the “best of the best” go to “The Ghetto”. “The Ghetto” is the Jewish part of Rome and I absolutely love going there for this treat! It is very popular Jewish style of preparation.. Carciofi are opened like a flower and they been deep-fried in olive oil until they become a golden magic. They are crunchy from outise and tender inside. This is a very special old Jewish roman tradition way to prepare Artichokes.
  • The Roman style Artichokes –  the artichokes are stuffed wit a bread crumbs, garlic, mint and parsley, all souked in an olive oil.

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Secondi Piatti:

  •  Trippa alla Romana – this is very traditional Roman dish. Tripe with herbs and spices and tomato sauce. So if YOU like this kind of stuff, I am sure YOU will enjoy the Roman- style.
  • Ciccoria  alla Romana – A bunch of chicory greens made like a spinach added garlic, peperoncino and olive oil. If YOU like spicy – don’t forget to say “picante”. Ciccoria is DELICIOUS and so good for YOU!  🙂

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  • Roasted LAMB – Abbacchio alla Romana – Roasted lamb in chunks. It is very traditional, served since ancient time. Very often flavoured by rosemary, sage or anchovy. There are no Roman holidays for me, without roasted lamb accompanied with roasted potatoes and ciccoria alla Romana. Yummy!

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  • Porchetta: When I came for the first time to Grottaferatta (about 30 min with a metro from a Rome) I completely fall in love with this snack. Of course, it is roasted pork with herbs, garlic and black pepper, so sure not a choice for e everyone. But it is  a very traditional and old roman country style dish. YOU can have it in pizza bread or in a panino ( type of a sandwich bread).  YOU can enjoy Porchetta with marinated mashrooms, onions or grilled zuchini or eggplant. There is no wrong doing! But my suggestion is pizza bread and just Porchetta. Well invested 5 eur and so tasty! 🙂

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  • Ossobuco – it is a special cut 0f meat with a bone for the strong flavour. Cooked for hours with lots of veggies. It is delicious, but for me a bit heavy. But I don’t know any man, who wouldn’t find this dish a pretty charming choice!

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Dolce:

Did YOU know that Tiramisu alle Fragole ( Strawberry Tiramisu) was invented in Roma? To be specific it was invented in one little place called Pompi in Via della Croce, it is few steps from Spanish Steps.

  • Tiramisu alle Fragole – I LOVE Tiramisu alle Fragole, if YOU are in the town, try in Pompi also the regular Tiramisu but also the one with strawberries. I usually do half and half, because as always I am a typical woman, give me a choice and I will never make a decision! 😀 lol

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Beverages:

Rome is known as a centre of a white wine. Frascati and Castelli Romani are the best. Cheers!

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With LOVE from Rome,

Zuzi

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