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Gina Tringali gives her advice for where to eat when (literally) in Rome

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When in Rome, one thing’s for sure: touring the city’s ancient ruins on foot and climbing the seven hills will work up an appetite. Luckily, we have Gina Tringali of GT Food & Travel to recommend the best culinary destinations in the city to curb those hunger pangs.

Like Rome’s architectural history, the city’s culinary roots make it distinct from other cities in Italy. The staples you have to try when sampling a Roman diet are coffee, pizza, and pasta. Tringali says, “You don’t want to miss the three main pasta dishes that are typically, classically Roman, from your amatriciana to your cacao e pepe and your carbonara.”

Whether you want to adventure outside the city center or visit tourist-friendly spots, Tringali’s picks will give you an authentic taste of Rome. Sant’ Eustachio offers wood-roasted coffee, which Tringali explains, “is something that we don’t see as often in the U.S.”

Watch the video above for tips on how to eat as the Romans eat. If you’re like us and think food is the main attraction when traveling in Rome, book a tour with GT Food & Travel to explore Rome’s culinary neighborhoods and markets.


Authentic Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe from Rome

If there’s a dish we love, this is spaghetti carbonara: it’s one of our most loved Italian recipes, it’s one of the recipes we’ve grown up with, and we love it so much that it is one of the traditional Italian recipes we defend the most.

In fact, carbonara pasta is one of the most disrespected dishes all over the World, and something that makes every Italian person, especially if from Rome, mad.

Carbonara pasta dates back to not too many years ago though its origins are still unclear today. It is now copied everywhere, bastardized in every possible way, and ruined if not made in the proper way and with the proper ingredients.

There’s only one way to make carbonara, and it’s our goal to give you the authentic spaghetti carbonara recipe from Rome, a staple in our family.

How do you make carbonara pasta from scratch? Let’s start from the basic, the recipe, and then we will answer all the most frequent questions about this truly Italian dish.

Be ready because the authentic carbonara pasta doesn’t require cream, chicken, mushrooms, parsley. Shocked?


Secrets to a perfect carbonara

Carbonara is one of the four classic Roman pastas alongside gricia, amatriciana, and cacio e pepe. All four recipes are based on pecorino romano, a sharp sheep’s milk cheese that, despite the name, is mostly produced on the Italian island of Sardinia today. If you don’t have pecorino available, Parmesan cheese is a good substitute, but it does lack the bite that pecorino imparts.

In addition to pecorino, another major player in the flavor of carbonara is guanciale. Guanciale is cured pork jowl with a strong flavor and delicate texture, which comes from an intense curing process of at least three months. During that time, the meat is seasoned on the surface with a blend of herbs and aromatics, usually including garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and sage.

If you don’t have access to guanciale, another acceptable option is pancetta. This cut comes from the belly of the pig and is more similar to bacon than to guanciale, but it makes a good substitute in a pinch, especially in countries like the US and Canada where guanciale is not as readily available.

In addition to the cheese and the rendered fat from the guanciale, real Roman carbonara gets its silky texture from two other key ingredients. The first is eggs, which you’ll want to be as fresh as possible—we’re not fully cooking them here, but rather just warming them through. And finally, a bit of starchy pasta cooking water helps the sauce cling to the pasta and ensures maximum flavor.

Spaghetti carbonara with plenty of guanciale and an extra dusting of pecorino cheese.

The best pasta shape for carbonara

Even many Romans can’t agree on which is the best type of pasta to use in carbonara. The most common options are traditional spaghetti and tube-like rigatoni. Both are delicious and hold the sauce perfectly, so it all comes down to taste!

We use spaghetti in our traditional carbonara recipe here, but if you’d rather try rigatoni or another pasta shape, have at it.

Classic carbonara served with rigatoni. Photo credit: Abbie Stark

Preparation for Coda alla Vaccinara Recipe

Preparation time: around 4 hours

Step 1, make sure to wash and dry the oxtail and chop it into large pieces. Heat the oil and chopped guanciale (pork cheek) in a large, heady-bottomed pot, then brown the pieces of oxtail in the hot oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic clove, 4 cloves, and salt and pepper (to taste).

Next, add all of the dry white wine and cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook the stew for at least 3 hours on low heat until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone. Make sure that the pieces of oxtail are always covered with sauce if the sauce becomes dry, keep adding water.

Near the end of the cooking time, blanch the chopped celery for a couple of minutes. Then, sautè the celery along with a small amount of the sauce the oxtail was cooking in, a handful of pine nuts, raisins, and a small amount of cacao to taste. Simmer the celery sauce for a few minutes at medium-low heat. Once the celery is tender, add this sauce to the main dish.

This cultural dish should be eaten with your hands! Serve with bread to soak up all the wonderful leftover sauce.

Quick Tip:Ask your butcher to chop the oxtail into pieces to save on preparation time!


Finely chop the onion, garlic and 1 trimmed celery stalk. Heat up the butter/margarine in a large sauté pan or casserole dish, then add the chopped onion, garlic and celery and the bay leaf and gently fry these off in the butter/margarine over a low heat for about 5-10 minutes, until they are nice and soft. Keep the heat low so they don’t caramelise.

Turn up the heat and add the oxtail pieces, browning them off all over for a few minutes, then pour over the wine and turn down the heat. Leave them to simmer, uncovered, over a low heat for 15 minutes.

Pour over the chopped tomatoes and add the warm water. Season with salt (careful not to over-season as the sauce will cook down a lot). Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to very low, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 2.5-3 hours, until the meat nearly falls off the bones. Turn the pieces of oxtail over 2-3 times during the cooking process.

While the meat is cooking, trim the remaining celery stalks, then chop them into large pieces (about 7cm long) – typically you would get about 3 pieces out of each celery stalk. Boil the celery pieces in a pan and take them out when they are soft but not falling apart. Set them aside until the oxtail is nearly ready.

When you just have 10 minutes to go until the meat is ready to serve, add the cooked celery to the pan with the oxtail, stir it in and leave it to finish cooking.


GET THE EBOOK

Why not Vegan? is a 141 page e-book containing 58 easy to follow, unique and tasty vegan recipes. It covers everything from breakfast to lunch and dinner to sides, snacks and desserts.

Inside, you will find my go-to vegan recipes!

Nut Free One Pot Spinach Pasta

Apple & Peanut Butter Muffins

Creamy Nut Free Garlic Dipping Sauce w Homemade Flatbreads

Salted Peanut Butter Date Caramel

Cherry and Chocolate Granola

In addition to recipes, this book contains vegan cooking tips, grocery lists and recommended cooking equipment. Also, my personal vegan and health story.

These ideas are approved by both vegans and non-vegan people! So, It’s safe to say that everyone will enjoy them :)

Why not Vegan? has everything you need for a delicious, colorful and fun lifestyle.


If you are a lover of pasta, Rome should be at the top of your bucket list – and you ought to make sure you try all 4 of the city’s famous pasta dishes.

Did you know that Rome is known for 4 quintessential, famous pasta dishes? You’d be hard-pressed to seek out a trattoria menu in Rome that doesn’t have all 4 gracing the pasta section, and with good reason. Each of these very simple pasta dishes are absolutely delicious. While they are all different in their flavor profiles and additions, they’re similar in that none of them use too many ingredients, and their deliciousness lies in the simplicity of the recipes.

The origin of each dish has been forever debated, and people have long argued over the most authentic versions and the “correct” way to make them. Even from restaurant to restaurant in Rome, you’ll spot plenty of variations! Ultimately, we believe that it’s okay to make modifications to classic dishes – especially on ones in which nobody can agree upon the origin, anyway!

So, what are the 4 famous pasta dishes in Rome? Read on!


Rome 2010

I've visited Rome a number of times, and I think I've finally nailed the time of year to visit. It took a few tries. Shoot for anytime between late September and mid-October. The weather is nice, but not hot. You might get the occasional afternoon rain, but not much beyond that. As far as where to stay? I still don't have a great recommendation for apartment rentals. Both times I've rented apartments, they've been perfectly o.k. - clean, great locations, completely livable, reasonable value for the money. I'd recommend the apartment we rented in Testaccio if it weren't for the noise. The mind-numbing noise. Even with earplugs. This particular apartment was on a busy, highly trafficked street, and even with the two layers of shutters closed, it was like living next to a freeway.

To reduce Rome to a list of places I enjoyed on this particular visit feels a bit strange. In part because it's all the little moments getting from place to place that I love. To be able to pop into the Pantheon on your way to a coffee date, or buy mushrooms at market that has been in the same place for hundreds of years feels so different to me than what I experience in my regular day to day routine. And the way ancient architecture and iconography is woven into urban life there never gets dull.

Here are a list of the places and experiences I enjoyed, organized somewhat by location. If you happen to visit Rome, try to seek at least a few of them out. I've also included some other links and resources at the bottom of the list. -h

00100 Pizza: Pizza al taglio, the best of its kind. I couldn't get enough of it. Their pizza would have been enough of a draw, but they also have a refrigerator filled with artisan beer. Grab one and a slice then sit on one of the nearby park benches. My favorites were the aged balsamic-drizzled stilton, and the margherita.
Via Giovanni Branca 88, Testaccio
phone: 0643419624
website

Nuovo Mondo: great Roman-style pizza
Via Amerigo Vespucci, 9-17, Testaccio

MACRO Testaccio: Rome's international festival of photography was taking place at MACRO while we were visiting. You can check the website for current exhibitions.
Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4

Bar Paticceria Lunari: Old school atmosphere, good espresso, locals of all ages, and chocolate/hazelnut-filled Italian doughnuts.

Pizzeria Remo: More great Roman-style pizzas.
Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44

Volpetti: The ultimate Italian deli. It's where I would stock up on sheep ricotta, pecorino, grains, beans, lentils, and bread. You can have prepared lunch just around the corner as well at Volpetti Più.
Via Mormorata 47
website

Canestro Natural Foods: A well-stocked natural food store in Testaccio. They stock whole grains, whole grain flours, natural sweeteners, tofu, seitan, and a range of pastas. Much of what you would find in a U.S. natural foods shop.
Via Luca della Robbia 42

American Academy in Rome: Friends of the American Academy in Rome have the ability to have lunch at the academy with up to ten friends, by reservation. For more information email Tina Cancemi.

Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa: A hole in the wall beer bar focused on craft beers. I love this place, BUT in an instant it can turn into a raging dude-packed football bar, which isn't really my thing. So I developed a bit of a strategy. I would go late in the afternoons, or early in the evenings, and pray there was no game being broadcast. If I lucked out, I could grab one of the five barstools, relax, and talk to the bartender about what they had on tap, and try a bunch of stuff.
Via Benedetta 25
website

Biscottificio Artigiano: The little almond macaroon cookies dunked in chocolate.
Via della Luce, 21, Trastevere

Il Gelato di San Crispino: Consistently my favorite place to order gelato in Rome -I kept going back for the chocolate-rum, and any of the ones with meringue chunks.
Piazza della Maddalena 3

Gelateria del Teatro: A close second for the gelato prize. I love the nut gelatos here.
Via di San Simone 70, Navona

Open Baladin: More artisan beer, much of it Italian. Huge number on tap. And on the food front, I had a particularly satisfying Insalata Farro for lunch here one day. Kid-friendly.
Via degli Specchi 6
website

Mia: Cute, cute shop
Via di Ripetta 224
website
39 06 97841892

ars-imago: I took some of my b/w film here for development. I was a bit nervous, but it worked out great. You need a week for turn-around though, and make note of the shop hours. They also stock hard to find films including Impossible Project instant film.
Via degli Scipioni 24/26
phone: 3382300648

Gusto: Part of the Gusto mini-empire, this is, hands-down, my favorite lunch-time buffet in Rome. Choose from a spread of twenty-some platters of salads, antipasti, and cheeses. Sit outside & people watch under the massive awning.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9
phone: 39 06 3226273
website

We also enjoyed Gusto Osteria Formaggeria, for dinner, just around the corner.
Via della Frezza 23
phone: 39 06 32111482

Banchetti Sport: If you're in the market for a nice ski parka or vest, this is the place to go.
Via Campo Marzio 38
phone: 06 6871420

Vino Roma: One evening before dinner, I squeezed in a wine class taught by Hande Leimer. And I'm so happy I did. We tasted a wide range of Italian wines, and I met a table of people all with different reasons for being in Rome. If you're interested in learning about Italian wines while in Rome, have a look at Hande's wine tasting calendar. She gives you the option of choosing from a number of different formats, including a wine & cheese lunch. The location is central, between the Vatican and the P.za del Popolo, which makes it easy to work a class into your overall plans for the day.
Vino Roma blog

Museo Maxxi: The just-opened contemporary art museum built by Zaha Hadid. Bought a David Hockney photography volume at the bookstore. One I've never seen before. Hop the subway at Piazza del Popola a couple stops to Appolodoro.
Via Guido Reni 4, Villa Borghese
phone: 06 3201829

Birra+: Neighborhood artisan beer shop. Bottles to-go for the most part, and although there wasn't a tasting the night we were there, apparently they regularly host tastings.
Via del Pigneto 105
phone: 06 70613106

Tiger Tandori: I had a pretty darn good spinach dosa here one night.
Via del Pigneto 193
phone: 06 97610172

- I visited Rome in 2007, here is a list of some of the places I visited, and things I saw on that trip. Twenty things I encountered in Rome.

- Kristina Gill is the Rome-based editor of one of my favorite cooking series - the in the kitchen with section on Design*Sponge. Here's her round-up of Vintage Furniture Shops in Rome. Related, the Design*Sponge Rome Design Guide.

- Photographer Penny de los Santos spent time photographing neighborhoods in Rome for the April 2010 issue of Saveur Magazine. You can see a number of her shots here.

- I ran into Rachel a couple times while in Testaccio, a total fluke. She was nice enough to introduce herself and say hi to me on the street. Her Rome-centric food blog has lots of appealing recipes and lovely photos to match.

- New York Times: 36 Hours in Rome by Rachel Donadio

- Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome: favorite places. I also wish I'd seen this sooner: Elizabeth's Rome.

I'm sure many of you have favorite places that I missed, or never got to on this trip. Please feel free to post them in the comments. -h

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(You’ll get a link for a free PDF e-book with 10 recipes)


This Is The First Thing Giada De Laurentiis Eats When She’s In Rome, and It’s So Easy to Make At Home

When we heard that Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis were going to be starring in a new best friends foodie travel show on Discovery+ called Bobby and Giada in Italy, we were immediately sold. And since travel is currently out of the question, we’ve been craving escapist content like this show, which was filmed before the pandemic. As we watched, we were charmed by the delicious looking Italian food the duo were eating, but what really surprised us is that the first food De Laurentiis brought Flay to try in Rome was something so simple, you can make it at home: pizza bianca with mortadella, which is basically an Italian bologna sandwich. Yeah, we said it!

The first place De Laurentiis takes Flay in Rome is Antico Forno Roscioli, a restaurant that’s been around since the 1800s. It specializes in pizza bianca, which De Laurentiis describes as a soft white bread similar to focaccia. “In my family, we eat pizza bianca all the time,” De Laurentiis tells Flay, going on to say that when she’s in Rome, “the first thing I have usually is pizza bianca with mortadella.”

For those not in the know, mortadella is an emulsified sausage like bologna, made out of pork. But what makes it really special is that the emulsified sausage is mixed with cubes of pork fat, whole or chopped pistachios, and spices like black pepper and myrtle berry. It’s rich, savory, and utterly craveable. Luckily, you can find mortadella at most well-stocked super market delis, or you can treat yourself by heading to an Italian market or salumeria to get the real good stuff.

The key to replicating De Laurentiis’ favorite Roman sandwich at home is paying attention to the ingredients. If you can’t get pizza bianca, look for a plain, soft focaccia bread, and cut it in half horizontally. Ask the person working at the deli counter to slice your mortadella extra thin, so the slices are almost see-through. Then, make your sandwich by folding and layering your mortadella between the top and bottom halves of the focaccia bread. The layering is key, according to De Laurentiis &ndash “they layer it so it’s nice and light it’s not a heavy piece of meat.”

If you’re using quality ingredients, that’s all you’ll need to make the simple but delicious sandwich De Laurentiis grew up eating in Rome. And if you have any leftover mortadella (if there is such a thing!), you can use it up in her recipe for mortadella meatballs.


Cultural etiquette guide to Rome

Learn how to live like a local on your next Italian getaway with our cultural etiquette guide to Rome. Get our top tips for ordering food, tipping and how to dress to impress.

Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the country they are travelling to.

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of April 2018 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide please email us at [email protected]

1. Dress to blend

Romans aren’t the most formal dressers on the planet, but they’re no slobs either. They dress smart when they leave the house and you’ll rarely see a local out and about in yoga pants, much less strolling into a restaurant wearing exercise gear.

To fit in, men should never wear shorts, no matter how hot it is outside women can get away with short shorts as long as they aren’t too revealing and skirts are fair game too. Be aware that Romans cover up well into summer, so if you’re walking around with bare legs, the temperatures should be somewhere in the 30s. On the footwear front, wear stylish, clean shoes. Trainers are acceptable at lunch if they are trendy or even dinner if they’re designer.

2. Do not cut your spaghetti strands

Instead, use a fork to separate pasta strands from the nest on your plate, then twirl them around your fork. Obviously if you order ravioli or some filled pasta that is too big to eat in one bite, cut away.

3. When in Rome

At a restaurant and want a cocktail? You won’t see Romans sipping spritz at a meal, so you shouldn’t either. You want grated Parmesan on your spaghetti with clams? No one else is doing it, so take that as your cue to fall in line and enjoy the dish just as it has been served.

4. Don’t order cappuccino after a meal

While there’s an often repeated rule that Romans don’t drink cappuccino after 11:00am, that’s not entirely true. Though it’s not the norm, plenty of Romans order one in the afternoon, often paired with a snack. Just don’t try ordering one directly after a meal. Most restaurants will reluctantly serve a cappuccino to a tourist if they ask but the server won’t be happy about it!

How to tip in Rome

At a café, if you stand up at the counter to drink a coffee, €0.10 per espresso is the norm, while if you sit down to be served, service is included in the price. Italian credit card transactions don’t include a tipping option, so if you wish to tip, come prepared with coins or bills.

Check out our travel hub for more foodie travel guides.

What’s your top tip for living like a local in Rome? Leave a comment below…

Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to.


Brioche Recipe: Veneziana

This brioche recipe turned out better than I had expected! Today I brought them over to my sister-in-law and nieces and they loved them. For the past few months, I have been searching for some brioche veneziane recipes and had kept a note of a few to try.

Last Saturday as I ventured out of the house for the first time in two weeks to check out the snow in Rome, I had hoped to get a brioche at the bar. Unfortunately, even the bar was closed and that meant no brioche to curb my craving.

I guess this was the time to pull out those recipes that I have saved and make my own brioche. At the end, I decided to use this recipe because the brioche veneziane looked delicious!

Brioche Recipe: Veneziana

Ingredients – Makes 9 brioche

Dough:
250 grams Flour 00 (Alternatively all-purpose flour or cake flour)
1/2 packet of active dry yeast (In Italy, it is lievito di birra liofilizzato and a packet is 7g)
50 grams of sugar
1/2 packet of vanilla (or 1-2 drops of vanilla essence)
1/2 lemon grated rind
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
36 grams butter
100-125 ml warm milk (don’t have to use all)

1. Sift flour and add active dry yeast in a bowl.

2. Form a well and add sugar, vanilla, lemon rind, egg, salt and melted butter. Mix well. Note: My well wasn’t really a well haha!

3. Add warm milk a bit at a time and use your hands to knead until you get homogenous and smooth dough. You don’t have to use all the milk. For this step, I used a hand mixer with a dough hook.

4. Cover the dough and let it rise for 90-120 minutes until double in size.

5. Punch the dough down and divide the dough into 9 pieces about 60-65 grams per piece.

6. Form each piece into a ball and place on a baking sheet. Let them rise for another 30 minutes.

7. While waiting for the dough to rise the 2nd time, prepare the pastry cream.

1 egg yolk with 1-2 teaspoons of milk

Topping: Pastry cream
1 egg yolk
25 grams sugar
10 grams of flour
80 ml of milk
vanilla essence and lemon rind
Powdered sugar to dust

1. In a pot, mix egg yolk and sugar until creamy.

2. Add flour and mix well to make sure the mixture is not lumpy.

3. Slowly add the milk and mix until smooth and creamy.

4. Add lemon rind and vanilla essence.

5. Cook over low heat until becomes thick. Keep stirring and keep an eye on it constantly.

Brioche Recipe: Assembling Veneziana

1. Brush the dough balls with the egg wash.

2. When cooled, place the pastry cream in a piping bag. If you don’t have one like me, place it in a small plastic or ziplock bag and cut a small corner.

3. Pipe pastry cream on the dough making rings. Start in the middle.

4. Bake at 180C for 13-15 minutes.

5. When it has cooled slightly(5-10 minutes), dust with powdered sugar.

Final Notes

I was very happy with the first attempt at making this recipe as the inside was soft and fluffy!

Also, these brioche freeze very well. Freeze individually and just microwave them. They come out nice and soft. If you wish, you can also fill these brioche with pastry cream. Depending on how pastry cream you like, double or triple the pastry cream recipe above.

I chose not to as I wanted them plain this time around. Next time however, I may fill them. I just love this brioche recipe and plan on making some again this weekend when it’s expected to snow again in Rome!


Watch the video: Ancient Rome 101. National Geographic