Eat local

Posted on Oct 31, 2018 in Foodies & Shopaholics

[revised February 2024] We are sure one of the reasons to plan a trip to Italy is food, and we agree: it’s a damn good reason!

Food is an important “ingredient” in a lifestyle and indulging in a good meal or in a new taste will be a long-lasting memory of your holiday. Italian  cuisine is one of the most popular in the world, but few visitors know that every area of Italy has its own traditions and recipes,  creating a great regional diversity. This is a list of local specialities you have to try in Rome:

  • pasta: cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper), carbonara (egg, bacon, cheese and pepper), amatriciana (tomato sauce and bacon), gricia (cheese, pepper and bacon), arrabbiata (literally “angry”, with spicy tomato sauce),  with Roman broccoli during the winter months
  • pasta e fagioli: pasta and beans soup enriched with pork fat and skin (cotiche)
  • gnocchi alla Romana: semolina baked in the oven with butter and cheese
  • the offal, known as “the fifth quarter”, i.e. the innards and least expensive parts of beef and lamb or mutton. From tripes to tails, there is a long list of recipes to try, for the very brave! An easier combination could be the pasta with pajata sauce (small intestine of an unweaned calf cooked with tomato sauce)
  • saltimbocca (literally “leap-in-the-mouth”): veal escalopes cooked with a slice of ham and sage
  • abbacchio: roasted new-born lamb, usually served with potatoes. And also lamb chops i.e. abbacchio a scottadito (“burning your finger”)
  • porchetta: slow-roasted pork stuffed with aromatic herbs and served cold, usually with the local bread from Genzano
  • fried mix: fillets of baccalà (salt cod),  courgette flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, both fried in a light batter. And of course supplì, fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella.
  • artichokes Jewish style (carciofi alla giudia) deep fried in olive oil or Roman style (alla romana) i.e. stewed
  • pizza:  of course, we have great pizza here, Roman style which means paper-thin and crunchy. Also pizza bianca, white pizza just dressed with olive oil and salt, a plain appetiser or a perfect base for a “sandwich” with mortadella or figs and cured ham.
  • pastries: the traditional maritozzo (a soft roll filled with whipped cream), bignè di San Giuseppe (fried choux buns filled with cream, on sale during the month of  March when we celebrate Father’s Day), crostata di  ricotta e visciole (sour cherry and ricotta tart)
  • grattachecca: only in the hot summer days you can find this refreshing dessert invented in the late XIX century and still served in these kiosks next to the river Tiber. It is  a cup of “grated ice” dressed with syrups, fruit juices and fruit salad

Go back to  “Eating in Rome” section