The Cucina Romanescais
traditionally based in the earthy cuisine of the working classes
mixed with many influences from the citys centuries old Jewish population.The
local markets, supply fresh seasonal vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat from the nearby countryside. And of course you have
the Mediterranean to thank for the abundance of fresh seafood that add glory to such popular dishes like Spaghetti alle Vongole
flavoured with baby clams. There are many other classic Roman pasta dishes like Spahetti alla Carbonara with Pancetta, eggs
and cheese, Bucatini allAmatriciana, a gutsy dish flavoured with tomato and Pancetta,
topped with Pecorino Romano( matured sheeps cheese). Penne allArrabbiata, a spicy sauce flavoured with tomatoes and chilli
and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, a simple dish with Pecorino and ground black pepper.
Many Roman meat dishes is dominated by the offal based quinto quarto (fifth quarter),innards, head, tail and trotters
that are still abundantly offered especially in restaurants in the old working
class neighbourhoods of Testaccio and Trastevere. Favourites are Pajata, the
intestines of an un-weaned calf, lingua (tongue) and Trippa ( tripe). Famous
dishes include Coda alla Vaccinara, oxtail stew in a sauce of celery and tomatoes. Abbacchio, milk-fed lamb roasted to tenderness
with rosemary, sage and garlic. Scottadito, grilled lamp chops and Saltimbocca alla Romana, thin slices of veal cooked with
a slice of prosciutto and sage on top.
In the winter you should try the quintessential Roman vegetable, Carciofo ( artichoke). It comes served either alla
romana, stuffed with garlic and mint and stewed or alla giudea flattened and deep-fried in olive oil. Another glorious side
dish is the courgette blossom, batter fried stuffed with mozzarella and a sliver of marinated anchovy. A popular fish dish,
not to be missed, is Baccalà, salt cod eaten Jewish style, deep-fried.
The Roman pizza differs from the Napoletanean version. It comes with a thin crust and is
usually baked (cotta a legna) in a wood-burning oven. All over Rome you can find places that serve pizza by the slice and sold by weight, (pizza al taglio).
Lunch times are usually between and dinner is served between and although in the summer the restaurants open even later.
No Roman meal would be complete without wine. Wines have been made for several thousand years
in the Lazio hills. The ancients toasted with Cecubo and Falernum, wines produced in the Latium hills referred to today as the wines of Castelli. The ample sun combined with the volcanic earth rich in potassium,
are well suited to produce white wines based on various types of Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes. The wines of Rome, especially
Frascati, where you can sample the local s in many of the towns cantine, and also Marino, are traditionally abbocato, soft
and not too sweet, pleasantly fleshy and fruity. Wonderful, easy, everyday wines not designed to travel far or to last long.
Other wines are Colli Albani, Colli Lanuvini, Velletri and Montecompatri Colonna.
The reds of Lazio vary in composition. Aprilia supplies quantities of Merlot and Sangiovese.
The reds of Cerveteri, Cori and Velletri are based on Montepulciano and Sangiovese.
In the year 1000, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, marched on Rome
at the head of a powerful army. One of his followers where bishopJohan Defuk,
who instructed his cupbearer, Martin, to go ahead and select the inns where good
wines where served. When Martin reached Montefiascone, the usual sign Est! was chalked next to the door of the inn. He found
this sign inadequate to properly represent to excellent wine of the town so he decided to signal his appreciation of the wine
to his master by writing Est 3 times and adding a exclamation point each time. Thus we know the birthdate of Est!Est!Est!
from Montefiascone! Bishop Defuk was so enraptured by the wine that after completing the mission, he returned to Montefiascone
where he remained to his death and is buried. It is still custom, once a year to pour a barrel of wine over his tombstone!