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6 Dishes to Try While on Vacation in Rome

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Carciofi alla Giudia

Carciofi alla Giudia

When visiting Rome, you have your choice of delectable cuisine from around the country, but authentic Roman flavors have evolved through centuries of social, political, and cultural changes that date back to the center of the ancient empire.

The city’s position as the former epicenter of an empire allowed the culture to absorb the gastronomic heritage from visiting merchants, immigrants, and political affiliates. Even with newer trends and growing international cuisine inside the city, food in Rome remains a source of pleasure that you can discover during your Italy tour.

1. Cacio e pepe

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e pepe is a traditional Roman pasta known for its simplicity. Using four ingredients, the dish consists of Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, a long pasta, and the pasta water. It is a classic example of how a simple combination of ingredients can build into big flavors. Cacio e pepe dates back to ancient Rome and the sheep that grazed along the Apennine Mountains. You can find the classic dish in a typical restaurant across the city, where you can sample the authentic and alluring contrast of pasta that is both simple and decadent.

2. Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

The true beginnings of Bucatini all’Amatriciana are naturally contested among Italians, but the traditional Roman dish contains cured pork, tomatoes, cheese, and hot peppers. With a heritage connected to the customs of the cucina povera, you can find plates using only the original ingredients or with embellishments of onion, garlic, and a splash of dry white wine. The Amatriciana sauce has a unique flavor compared to other Roman and even Italian cuisine that reveals a luxurious depth in which you can indulge.

3. Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

You can find spaghetti alla carbonara in most restaurants and home kitchens across Rome during your trip to sample the delectable combination of egg, pancetta, and pasta. Legends of the carbonara’s origins claim it comes from the mountains around Abruzzo or from the food shortages after Rome’s liberation in World War II. No matter how the dish started, it has become a staple of traditional Roman cuisine that features the rich depth and mouthwatering combination of pecorino and pancetta with a sauce bound by eggs.

4. Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano cheese is made from sheep’s milk and reflects the long-standing traditions of ancient Rome when shepherds roamed the countryside and allowed their sheep to graze on the Mediterranean flora. The aroma of the cheese is nutty and robust, giving way to a sharp, smoky flavor. The longer Pecorino Romano ages, the spicier the cheese becomes. Pecorino Romano is often used as an alternative to sharper cheeses like Parmesan, especially in traditional Roman dishes like pasta carbonara, Amatriciana, and cacio e pepe that you can try when in Rome.

5. Ricotta Romana DOP

Ricotta Romana DOP

Ricotta Romana DOP

Ricotta is considered a fresh cheese often used in desserts or paired with honey, compotes, and breads. Ricotta Romana must come from particular types of sheep that graze on the pastures resulting in a sweet flavor. Ricotta Romana earned the DOP status to protect the integrity of the traditions of cultivating the cheese, which dates back to the ancient Roman age. When visiting Rome, you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy Ricotta Romana DOP in sweet or savory dishes like ravioli or in pastries.

6. Carciofi alla Giudia

Carciofi alla Giudia

Carciofi alla Giudia

Carciofi alla Giudia translates to “artichokes Jewish-style” and represents a unique ancient cultural fusion of Roman Jewish cuisine. Essentially the recipe is a deep-fried artichoke but offers a layered flavor with an enticing crunchy texture. The dish dates back to the 16th century, demonstrating the long and entangled history of the Jewish community in Rome. During your tour of Rome, you can find carciofi alla giudia across the city, but especially when visiting a restaurant inside the Jewish Ghetto district in the historic city center.

How to Plan Your Rome Vacation

Restaurant on cozy street in Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, Italy

Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, Italy

Rome is renowned for chefs of family-owned restaurants and home cooks committed to celebrating the pillars of the dynamic culture.  A meal in Rome can embody the heritage of the greater region from the mountains to the plains, as well as the tradition of cucina povera reflecting the local flavors at their best. Find inspiration with our Rome Tours for your trip or learn more with Zicasso’s Italy Travel Guide. You can also speak with an Italy travel expert by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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