Roman cuisine comes from the Italian city of Rome. It features fresh, seasonal and simply-prepared ingredients from Roman Campagna. These include peas, globe artichokes and fava beans, shellfish, milk-fed lamb and goat, and cheeses such as Pecorino Romano and ricotta. Olive oil is used mostly to dress raw vegetables, while strutto (pork lard) and fat from prosciutto are preferred for frying. The most popular sweets in Rome are small individual pastries called pasticcini, gelato (ice cream) and handmade chocolates and candies. Special dishes are often reserved for different days of the week; for example, gnocchi is eaten on Thursdays, baccalà (salted cod) on Fridays, and trippa on Saturdays.
Rome's food has evolved through centuries and periods of social, cultural, and political changes. Rome became a major gastronomical center during ancient age. Ancient Roman cuisine was highly influenced by Ancient Greek culture. Subsequently, the empire's enormous expansion exposed Romans to many new, provincial culinary habits and cooking techniques. In the beginning, the differences between social classes were not very great, but disparities developed with the empire's growth. Later, during the Renaissance, Rome became well known as a center of high-cuisine, since some of the best chefs of the time worked for the popes. An example of this could be Bartolomeo Scappi, who was a chef working for Pius IV in the Vatican kitchen, reaching fame with his cookbook Opera dell'arte del cucinare, published in 1570. Here he lists approximately 1000 recipes of Renaissance cuisine and describes cooking techniques and tools, giving the first known picture of a fork.
Traditional cucina Romana
The Testaccio rione, Rome's trade and slaughterhouse area, is the place where Rome's most original and traditional foods can still be found. The area was often known as the "belly" or "slaughterhouse" of Rome, and was inhabited by butchers, or vaccinari. The most common or ancient Roman cuisine included the "fifth quarter". Popular foods include pig's trotters, brain, and the genitals of other animals, which were often carefully cooked and richly spiced with different savouries, spices and herbs. The old-fashioned coda alla vaccinara (oxtail cooked in the way of butchers) is still one of the city's most popular meals and is part of most of Rome's restaurants' menus. Lamb is also a very popular part of Roman cuisine, and is often roasted with spices and herbs. There is a considerable Jewish influence in Roman cuisine, since many Jews lived in the city, and some of the traditional meals of the ghetto date back over 400 years. Such include the carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style artichokes) and Jewish courgettes.
Pasta in Rome
Pasta is one important element of Roman cuisine. Famous pasta sauces include amatriciana, carbonara, (a sauce made with pancetta or guanciale - pig's cheek -, cheese and egg), cacio e pepe and gricia (like carbonara but without eggs). Alfredo (invented by the chef of restaurant "Alfredo alla Scrofa") is famous abroad, but not considered traditional and mostly unheard of in Rome.
The city is known as a centre of white wine, especially with the warm territory. Frascati and Castelli Romani have been called the best ones in the city.
Other elements of Roman food
There are also many other dishes in Roman cuisine, including several desserts and sweets, many of which are made with ricotta cheese. Typical of Rome is the grattachecca.
- Bruschetta - a popular antipasto or appetizer in central Italy. It comes from the Romanesco word bread which is lightly burnt, typically rubbed with garlic and topped with oil and tomatoes.
- Supplì - fried rice croquettes which are stuffed with beef ragout and mozzarella.
- Bucatini all'Amatriciana - pasta dish with tomato sauce, guanciale, and grated Pecorino Romano.
- Spaghetti alla Carbonara - pasta dish with a sauce made with whipped eggs, and topped with Italian bacon, pepper and grated Pecorino Romano.
- Rigatoni con la Pajata - pasta dish with a sauce made with ringed intestines of a milk-fed veal and pecorino cheese.
- Saltimbocca alla Romana - Roman-style veal with ham (prosciutto) and sage. Saltimbocca is a contraction of "salta in bocca", which literally means jump in the mouth.
- Scaloppine alla romana - Veal sautéed with fresh baby artichokes
- Coda alla vaccinara - Oxtail stew, cooked with tomato sauce, celery, clove and bitter chocolate
- Carciofi alla romana - Whole artichokes filled with minced garlic and parsley and cooked in olive oil.
- Carciofi alla giudia (Jewish style artichokes) Whole artichokes filled with chili peppers and deep fried.
- Trippa - Tripe cooked with tomato sauce and wild mint, and topped with pecorino cheese is an ancient Roman tradition.
- Fiori di Zucca - zucchini flowers filled with mozzarella cheese and anchovies, battered and deep fried.
- Abbacchio alla cacciatora - floured lamb chops cooked in oil and vinegar, spiced with garlic, sage, anchovies and rosemary
- Crostata di ricotta - Is a richly baked cheesecake, made with ricotta, and flavored with lemons (or oranges) and Marsala wine.
- Boni, Ada (1983) . La Cucina Romana (in Italian). Roma: Newton Compton Editori.
- Carnacina, Luigi; Bonassisi, Vincenzo (1975). Roma in Cucina (in Italian). Milano: Giunti Martello.
- Malizia, Giuliano (1995). La Cucina Ebraico-Romanesca (in Italian). Roma: Newton Compton Editori.
- Rome. Eyewitness Travel. DK Publishing. 2006. ISBN 1-4053-1090-1.
- Boni (1930), pg. 13.
- Boni (1930), pg. 14
- Eats, Serious. "Gina DePalma's Guide To Rome Sweets". sweets.seriouseats.com. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
- (Rolland 2006, p. 273).
- Eyewitness Travel (2006), pg. 312 - 313
- Eyewitness Travel (2006), pg. 314 - 315
- Boni (1930), pg. 44.
- Boni (1930), pg. 150.
- Boni (1930), pg. 96.
- Boni (1930), pg. 156.
- Boni (1930), pg. 94.
- Boni (1930), pg. 101-2.