Carbonara, amatriciana, saltimbocca, cacio e pepe are dishes that immediately let us think about the Roman gastronomic tradition; an essentially simple cuisine, without any frills, yet based on rich ingredients full of flavors and personality.
Spending a weekend or a holiday in Rome becomes in this sense not only the best way to admire the monumental and cultural beauty that the entire world envies us, but also to discover the genuine flavors of a millennial cuisine, rich in traditions and contaminations.
A BIT OF HISTORY
The Roman cuisine dates back to the period of transition between the Empire and the Republic, when the Roman citizens used to divide their day in 3 meals: breakfast, consumed between 8 and 9 a.m., usually characterized by focacce, bread with salt and wine, milk and honey to go with dried fruit, cheese and left overs from the previous day.
Lunch, which used to be consumed a bit earlier than noon and was quite quick; rich people ate a bowl of legumes, olives, figs, cheese or meat or fish kebabs on the grill.
The most important meal was dinner, usually consumed around 16:00 and that could also last 6 hours, it entailed a started and 6 dishes, characterized by an elevated consumption of sausage-like products, bird-like meats and other hunting meat such as wild boars, deer and roe deer.
On the lavish table, there were always wine, often mixed with honey, and bread, initially made with spelt and then, from IV century, made with grain.
THE TRADITIONAL DISHES
Besides the simple ingredients of the rural culture, the typical Roman cuisine is also the result of the contaminations from boarding regions, from which it has absorbed flavors and preparations, managing to preserve its own and popular soul.
In the top five of the traditional recipes falls amatriciana, a dish born in Amatrice, a town in Lazio in the province of Rieti, which was served for the first time at the Pope’s court during a banquet at the Quirinale Palace and organized in honor of Emperor Francesco I of Austria in 1816.
The gricia, born in the Grisciano land, between Lazio and Marche regions, it’s a pasta made with Roman pecorino, guanciale (pork jowl) and black pepper.
The artichoke alla giudia, originally from the jewish ghetto in Rome, where still today you can find restaurants that have preserved characteristics and original ingredients and la trippa, a simple and quick dish but with a rich flavor.
About the popular carbonara, around which there are every type of legends, we must say that it is without any doubt the most known Roman dish, even though its uncertain origins.
In the old recipes books we cannot find any trace of it; probably one of the first witnesses appeared in the movie “Cameriera bella presenza offresi” from 1951, when, during an odd job interview, the interviewee asks the waitress Maria (starred by Elsa Merlini): “Wait a minute, listen up, do you know how to cook spaghetti alla carbonara?”. The waitress says that she does not have any knowledge of this dish and from this anecdote was born the theory that before then, this dish never existed.
WHERE TO TRY THEM OUT
Rome is very rich in typical trattorias and restaurants where it is possible to taste the true cuisine. Among the multiple excellent addresses, we have chosen these for you:
It is the house of the Roman chef Arcangelo Dandini, in the Prati neighborhood; it is an Italian bistort-style place with a pleasing and warm atmosphere, furnished with antique furniture and family treasures, where you can taste traditional dishes with a personalized touch.
Roman cuisine from 1961 and from then a pivotal point for the tradition lovers, also thanks to a precise choice for the primary ingredients, respect for seasons and loyalty for the tradition. Good is also the wines menu which presents around 400 categories.
It is very ample the repertoire of Roman dishes that you can taste at the tables of this bright and warm place; besides the usual carbonara, amatriciana, cacio e pepe, there are also meatballs of boiled meat; pumpkin flowers with anchovies and mozzarella, tail alla vaccinara, breaded costolette d’abbacchio (lamb chops) and much more.
Apart from the modern and detailed Roman cuisine, this place offers a beautiful landscape of the Skyline of the city centre of Rome, from the cupola del Pantheon to the one of San Pietro. In the warmer season, outdoor tables that seem to be floating above Piazza Navona, with the Fountain dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini.
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