Food, glorious food, and in Rome the food is truly glorious! As I’ve often said, calories don’t count while on vacation…thank God. So go ahead mangia, mangia, mangia and eat your way through Rome! Most people think Italian food consists of pasta and pizza. Yes, pasta is a main staple, and also my comfort food. But there is much more to Italian cuisine. Each region has its own yummy specialties and they are all incredible. I have slowly eaten my way through much of Italy, but have so much more to devour.
Rome has many amazing dishes. Some of them (like tripe) I tend to avoid, but serve me any pasta and I’m a happy girl. Carbs rule! I definitely have my favorite things to eat while there, and am willing to share them. Warning: Food porn coming up. If you plan on going to Rome, check out my When in Rome: My Top Five before you go.
Without a doubt, hands down, my absolute favorite pasta of all time. It’s my go to comfort food. The one my sweet husband has made it his mission to perfect and he’s pretty much got it down. He makes me Carbonara when I’m feeling down, sick and blah, in the winter when I’m cold or just about anytime I ask him to (which is often). The true Roman Carbonara has no cream and is made with cured pork cheek called Guanciale (kind of like prosciutto), raw egg, pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese and parmesan. There’s an art to making it. One of the best in Rome is at Roscioli on via dei Giubbonari…go there, eat it, you won’t regret it.
Cacio e Pepe
Another favorite pasta of mine. Cacio means cheese in the Roman dialect, for the Pecorino Romano used in this gorgeous bowl of yumminess. Pepe is pepper. Cacio e Pepe is best with bucatini pasta, which is thicker than Spagetti. There’s no cream, less calories, so basically it’s a diet pasta! Try the Cacio e Pepe at De Felice on via Mastro Giorgio…so good!
This one is a true Roman classic. Tomato with crispy Guanciale (pork cheek) and Pecorino Romano cheese served over thick Bucatini pasta. It’s simple and sooooo good. It’s also served with Rigatoni pasta in some restaurants. Try it at La Taverna dei Fiori Imperial, which is in between the Forum and Colosseum, making it a perfect place for lunch when visiting those sites!
Roman pizza is thinner and crispier than it’s cousin in Naples, but just as satisfying. We love pizza so much at our house that we installed a wood burning oven in our outdoor kitchen and my husband makes THE BEST! You will find pizza on most menus in Rome, pizza with artichokes is a Roman specialty. If it’s just a quick snack you’re after, stop by the Pizzarium on via Della Meloria, they sell a thicker version by the slice.
Supplì is Roman street food, and a cousin to Arancini. These gooey balls of deliciousness are the perfect snack when you’re feeling hungry. Supplì are rice balls stuffed with tomato sauce and mozzarella, breaded and fried so the cheese melts and they are amazing! You will find them as an appetizer on many menus as well.
Just to prove that it’s not all about pasta and pizza, Porchetta is a rolled pork roast. It’s lovingly rolled with herbs and roasted just right, so that it develops a salty crisply crackling skin. Eat it sliced hot on a sandwich…to die for! Find the best one at the deli Antica Norcineria di Trastevere…made daily and the lines out the door attest to how amazing it is!
Not to be confused with ice cream, Gelato has no milk or cream. You’ll find Gelato on every corner in Rome. On a hot day, I have been known to eat 3 or 4. Just be sure to know the difference between REAL Gelato and the mass produced crap made from powder. If it’s the authentic Gelato you’re after, head to Fatamorgana, and for anyone in L.A. they opened one there!
I’m drooling now, are you? I did warn you. I hope you try some of these specialties when you’re in Rome. Be sure to read When In Rome: My Top 5 and Mini Guide to Italy’s Piedmont Region before your trip not Italy. Feel free to Email me or comment below. Keep traveling and eating!