top thing to eat in rome - the top thing

The Top Thing to Eat: Rome

Written: The Top Thing Staff | October 5, 2023

1. L’Amatriciana

L’Amatriciana is a classic Roman pasta dish featuring a rich tomato and guanciale sauce that has become a staple of local cuisine. Originating in the town of Amatrice, near Rome, this pasta dish has gained widespread popularity for its savory flavors and cultural significance.

The sauce typically consists of tomatoes, cured pork cheek (guanciale), pecorino cheese, and black pepper, creating a harmonious blend of salty and tangy flavors. It is often served with bucatini or spaghetti, allowing the thick strands to capture the robust sauce effectively.

One interesting aspect of L’Amatriciana is how it reflects the essence of Roman culinary traditions. The use of simple yet high-quality ingredients such as ripe tomatoes and guanciale exemplifies the emphasis on fresh produce in Italian cooking.

Moreover, this beloved pasta dish showcases the artistry behind traditional Roman recipes. The careful balance between acidity from the tomato sauce and richness from the guanciale demonstrates an appreciation for flavor harmony that defines Italian cuisine.

When visiting Rome, trying L’Amatriciana pasta at a restaurant in Trastevere provides an authentic taste experience that captures both history and modernity within each flavorful bite. This local restaurant favorite perfectly encapsulates why classics like this pasta have stood the test of time in Italian gastronomy.

2. La Carbonara

La Carbonara is an iconic Roman pasta dish made with eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, pancetta, and black pepper. This creamy and flavorful pasta sauce achieves its richness without the use of any cream, showcasing the simplicity and excellence of Italian cuisine.

Believed to have been created for Italian charcoal workers in the mid-20th century, this dish has a rich history that adds to its allure. The combination of simple ingredients like tomato and pasta creates a harmonious symphony of flavors that has stood the test of time.

The use of eggs and cheeses in La Carbonara sets it apart from other traditional pasta dishes by providing a luxurious texture and depth of flavor. The marriage between the salty pancetta and sharp Pecorino Romano cheese elevates this pasta dish to culinary greatness.

One interesting aspect is that authentic Carbonara uses guanciale instead of pancetta; however, due to availability outside Italy, many recipes substitute it with pancetta or bacon. This adaptation showcases how beloved this dish, pasta, has become on a global scale.

3. Abbacchio a Scottadito

Abbaccio a Scottadito is a delectable dish of grilled lamb chops, seasoned with fragrant herbs and olive oil. This traditional Roman Easter pasta delicacy offers a burst of flavors that will leave you craving for more.

The name “Abbacchio a Scottadito” translates to “burn your fingers,” which perfectly captures the irresistible taste and tenderness of the lamb chops. The dish is so enticing that it’s said to be impossible to resist eating them straight off the grill, hence the playful name.

This succulent dish has been crafted with expertise, ensuring that each bite is an explosion of savory goodness. It’s not just about satisfying your stomach; it’s about experiencing authentic Roman cuisine, pasta, and wine in its truest form.

A short walk through Rome will lead you to trattorias and restaurants where this mouthwatering pasta dish is skillfully prepared. The unique blend of herbs and the tender texture make Abbacchio a Scottadito an unforgettable culinary experience.

4. Supplì

Supplì are deep-fried rice croquettes that are a must-try treat in Rome. These delicious snacks, filled with gooey mozzarella and savory ragù, are a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.

The name “supplì” is derived from the Italian word for telephone wires, “suppli,” due to the characteristic stretchy cheese filling resembling the wires hanging from telephone poles.

When in Rome, seeking out supplì and pasta is an essential part of experiencing local street food culture. These delectable dishes can be found at various food counters and stalls throughout the city, often served as a quick bite or snack on the go.

5. Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe is a classic Roman pasta dish that boasts simplicity and flavor. The combination of Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, and pasta creates a dish that has stood the test of time in Roman cuisine.

The secret to this dish lies in the emulsification process, where the cheese and starchy pasta water come together to form a luscious, creamy sauce that coats each strand of spaghetti or tonnarelli. This technique requires skill and precision from the chef to achieve the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Dating back centuries, Cacio e Pepe has remained a staple in Rome, showcasing the timeless appeal of traditional Italian cooking. Its enduring popularity speaks volumes about its place in Roman culinary heritage.

6. Saltimbocca alla Romana

Thin slices of veal are adorned with prosciutto and sage, then cooked in a mixture of white wine and butter to create this classic Roman dish. The name “Saltimbocca alla Romana” translates to “jump in the mouth,” emphasizing its flavorful nature.

This savory dish perfectly balances the rich flavors of prosciutto and veal with the aromatic essence of sage, creating a delightful taste experience that epitomizes Roman cuisine. It is a prime example of how Roman classics incorporate simple yet high-quality ingredients to produce exquisite dishes.

The traditional version typically includes thinly pounded veal cutlets, ensuring tenderness and optimal absorption of the accompanying flavors. This culinary masterpiece can be found in numerous dining establishments across Rome, often paired with complementary side dishes such as artichokes or risotto.

7. Gnocchi con Sugo di Carne – Only on Thursdays

Soft potato dumplings served with a rich meat sauce, available only on Thursdays in Rome, offer a unique culinary experience. This tradition has its roots in the practice of using leftover Sunday roast meat for the sauce, adding depth and flavor to the dish.

For many Romans, indulging in Gnocchi con Sugo di Carne is not just about savoring a delicious meal; it’s a beloved weekly ritual. The anticipation leading up to Thursday creates an air of excitement and adds an element of tradition to this simple yet flavorful dish.

This limited availability adds an element of exclusivity to the dining experience, making it even more special for locals and visitors alike. It also serves as a reminder of how Italian cuisine is deeply intertwined with culture and history.

The combination of soft gnocchi and hearty meat sauce provides a satisfying dining experience that encapsulates the essence of Roman comfort food. Whether you’re exploring Rome’s culinary scene or seeking an authentic taste of local traditions, indulging in Gnocchi con Sugo di Carne on Thursdays offers a delightful insight into the city’s gastronomic heritage.

8. Gelato

Italian-style ice cream, known for its dense and creamy texture, is a must-try when in Rome. Gelato comes in a wide variety of flavors, including classics like pistachio and stracciatella. The use of quality ingredients such as fresh fruits and natural flavors gives gelato an authentic taste that captivates the palate.

One of the best ways to enjoy gelato is while strolling through Rome’s charming streets. Whether it’s a hot summer day or a cool evening, indulging in this delightful treat adds an extra layer of pleasure to the experience of exploring the eternal city.

Gelaterias (gelato shops) are abundant throughout Rome, each offering its own unique take on this beloved dessert. From traditional flavors to innovative combinations, there’s always something new to discover within this culinary delight.

The next time you find yourself in Rome, be sure to savor the irresistible allure of gelato – it’s an essential part of experiencing the city’s food culture at its finest.

9. Pizza al Taglio

Rectangular slices of pizza sold by weight at bakeries or pizzerias throughout Rome offer a convenient and delicious culinary experience. With options ranging from classic margherita to inventive combinations like zucchini flowers and anchovies, this street food presents a diverse array of flavors.

This style of pizza is perfect for those seeking a quick yet satisfying meal on the go in between sightseeing or shopping excursions. The crispy dough, flavorful toppings, and varied selection make it an ideal choice for lunch or a snack while exploring the city’s vibrant food scene.

For example, Pizzarium Bonci is renowned for its exceptional pizza al taglio, attracting locals and tourists alike with its delectable offerings. This popular spot reflects the essence of Roman street food culture, where locals gather to savor these savory slices paired with fine wine or craft beer.

10. Fiori di zucca

Fiori di zucca are delicate zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, then battered and fried. This dish is a testament to the artistry of Roman cuisine, showcasing how simple ingredients can be transformed into gourmet delicacies.

Typically enjoyed during the summer months when zucchini flowers are in season, fiori di zucca offers a delightful way to savor the freshness of seasonal produce. The crispy exterior combined with the creamy filling creates a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that captivate the palate.

In Rome, this dish represents an authentic culinary tradition that highlights the city’s dedication to preserving its heritage through food. It also reflects the Italian approach to celebrating seasonal citrus and vegetables by incorporating them into diverse recipes.

The combination of mozzarella, anchovies, and zucchini flowers exemplifies how Roman cuisine balances savory elements with lightness and elegance. This balance is characteristic of many traditional dishes in Rome, where each ingredient plays a crucial role in creating a harmonious flavor profile.

Moreover, fiori di zucca has gained popularity beyond Italy’s borders due to its unique preparation style and delectable taste. Its presence on menus worldwide underscores its status as an iconic representation of Roman gastronomy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is L’Amatriciana?

L’Amatriciana is a traditional pasta dish from Rome, typically made with bucatini pasta, tomato sauce, guanciale (cured pork cheek), and pecorino cheese. It’s a flavorful and hearty dish that’s a must-try when visiting Rome.

How is La Carbonara prepared?

La Carbonara is a classic Roman pasta dish featuring spaghetti, eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, pancetta or guanciale, and black pepper. The creamy texture and rich flavor make it an iconic Roman culinary experience.

What are Supplì?

Supplì are delicious Roman snacks consisting of rice balls filled with mozzarella cheese, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried until crispy. They’re often served as appetizers or street food in Rome.

When can I find Gnocchi con Sugo di Carne in Rome?

Gnocchi con Sugo di Carne (gnocchi with meat sauce) is traditionally served only on Thursdays at many authentic Roman eateries. This special tradition adds to the allure of experiencing local cuisine in Rome.

Where can I try Fiori di zucca?

Fiori di zucca are zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies before being battered and fried. You can savor this delectable treat at various restaurants across Rome during the peak season for zucchini flowers.