The four best dishes to try during your trip to Lazio reflect the customs created when Rome acted as the heart of the ancient empire. The conquered landscapes of antiquity stretched over the hills and reached the western seas to create impressive ports from which Rome could reach the hidden corners of the known world, now embodied in the gastronomic traditions that were left behind. The food of Lazio takes the shape of simple dishes with quick and easy cooking techniques based on the ideas of fresh and readily available ingredients.
The regional cuisine of Lazio is characterized by Cucina Povera, the traditions of poor cooking that embody the tastes of farmers over the centuries who used the entirety of ingredients and ingredients that were easily accessed during the changing seasons. The increased standard of living in Lazio has resulted in home and commercial chefs creating flavors with ingredients that were once unheard of outside of regional cooking. You can sample the following dishes during your next trip to Lazio.
Cacio e pepe is a traditional Lazio dish of long pasta like spaghetti or bucatini in a cheese sauce with pepper. The pasta is typically cooked al dente, and the sauce is made from pecorino cheese with butter or cream added for body and richness. The dish's heritage allegedly dates back to the Roman empire as a filling meal for Roman shepherds who utilized common grains of the era. True traditional cacio e pepe does not need any extra cream, oil, or butter because the starch from the pasta that is mixed with grated pecorino provides enough body for a typical sauce.
Gnocchi alla Romana is dumplings that are made from semolina flour and flattened to resemble small disks and are then formed with milk, egg yolks cheese, and butter. The dumplings are cooked in the oven until they have a crunchy surface. The simple but delicious dish shows the versatility of Lazio ingredients and the creativity of home and commercial chefs over the centuries. The original dish evolved from Romans that used bread without crust instead of a flour mixture and has since become a lighter recipe than the potato-based dumplings of Northern Italy.
The most famous Lazio dish of Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a dish of bucatini pasta tossed in a sauce made from lard, bacon, tomato, chili pepper, and pecorino cheese. The classic amatriciana sauce does not use onions or garlic and instead only utilizes the flavors, oils, and natural fats from the guanciale with pecorino cheese and tomatoes in a tradition that dates back to the 17th century. The first written account of the dish was in the 19th century during a banquet for Emperor Francis I of Austria organized by Pope Pius VII and observed by chef Francesco Leonardi.
Carciofi alla Giudia is a traditional cuisine of Lazio that truly reflects diversity in culture and cuisine. The dish has evolved through time and reflects the international influences of the ancient and Medieval world. The dish's name means "Jewish-style artichokes" and consists of quartered artichokes, fried until crispy and served with lemon and sea salt. Cookbooks as old as the 16th century share the recipe and provide a great way to use the entirety of the ingredient in relation to traditional cucina povera.
Lazio is home to one of Italy’s most famous cities and the culinary tradition offers insight into the diversity of Italian history and culture dating back to the Roman Empire. With magnificent ruins and exceptional heritage, you can discover ways to visit during your next trip with Zicasso’s Italy Travel Guide or embrace the flavorful dishes of Lazio with the Best Cities for Lazio Cuisine. Ready to enjoy an Italian food tour? You can speak with an Italy travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.