February 6, 2016 | Rome, Italy | Partly Cloudy 15°C
Search Our Dining Guide:
Region:
City:
Type:
Rating:
Price:
Keyword:

CITY

Amelia (Terni)

Anacapri

Ancona

Assisi

Bevagna

Bologna

Camarda

Capri

Carovilli

Carsoli

Caserta

Castel Volturno

Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena)

Chianciano Terme

Chiusi

Cingoli

Conca della Campania (Caserta)

Ferentillo

Ferrara

Florence

Foligno (Perugia)

Forti di Marmi (Lucca)

Fregene

Genoa

Grosseto

Grutti (Perugia)

Imola (Bologna)

Ischia

Isola di Ponza (Latina)

Marcellano (Perugia)

Merano

Milano

Modena

Montalcino

Montefalco (Perugia)

Montefortino (Ascoli Piceno)

Naples

Narni (Terni)

Olbia (Sardinia)

Oliene (Sardinia)

Orroli (Sardinia)

Orvieto

Pacentro (L'Aquila)

Padova

Palena (Chieti)

Palermo

Parma

Piazza Armerina (Sicily)

Pietrabbondate (Molise)

Polizzi Generosa

Positano

Ragusa

Ravenna

Rimini

Roccascalegna (Chieti)

Rome

Santa Marina Salina

Senigallia (Ancona)

Siena

Sorrento

Spello (Perugia)

Spoleto

Turin

Venice

Verona

Vico Equense (Naples)

Villafrati


REGION

Abruzzo

Campania

Emilia-Romagna

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Lazio

Liguria

Lombardia

Marche

Molise

Piemonte

Sardinia

Sicily

Trento-Alto Adige

Tuscany

Umbria

Veneto


Currency Converter

Currency Converter

Expanding pasta horizons

Amatriciana, cacio e pepe, carbonara, Bolognese and pesto may get headlines, but there's more out there.

Ravioli del Plin is smaller than the classic square agnolotti pasta pockets.
By Eleonora Baldwin
Published: 2016-01-10

Amatriciana, cacio e pepe, carbonara, Bolognese and pesto are the Italian pasta dishes that come up repeatedly in recipes and restaurant reviews. Each has its own set of do's and don'ts, strict "rules," and assorted dogma.

"Never put onion in Amatriciana!" and "God forbid you put cream in your carbonara..." are lines I've memorized (and written).

Honestly, though, these Rome-oriented dishes can tire me out. I'm not sated but saturated. Pasta just doesn't belong to any one Italian city or region. Plenty of overlooked but divine variations warrant the undivided attention of all devoted fork-twirlers. Here's a look at some of my favorites.

Genovese Underestimated "genovese" is a Neapolitan pasta dish unrelated to Genoa. Slow-simmered onions, pork meat, carrots and celery are blended into a delicious rust-colored ragů. The aroma of this family stalwart fills the streets and alleys of Naples each Sunday morning. Sadly, it's not often available on restaurant menus outside its hometown. Some believe the dish was first prepared in the late 15th-century by a select group of Genoa cooks stationed in the Naples seaport district at the time.

Culurgiones Ornate culurgiones dumplings are pillars of Sardinian cuisine (which because of the island's stunning coastline is too often ignored). "Little bundles" in dialect, they're made with semolina flour and are intricately stitched to contain a potato, ricotta, pecorino cheese and mint filling. The dish is traditionally dressed with plain tomato sauce dusted with grated pecorino cheese. Common variations include adding braised onion in the filling, or aromatic spices such as nutmeg or saffron.

Puttanesca Why did puttanseca go out of fashion in Italy? Legend has it this deliciously spicy marinara-style sauce (simmered gently with black and green olives, chili peppers, capers, basil and a hint of anchovy) was a 19th-century favorite of madams, who served it to their girls between bedroom acrobatics. Others say a Neapolitan madam offered cut rates on the delicious dish to lure prospective customers into her Spanish Quarter bordello. Whatever its origins, the name of dish translates roughly "harlot-style" and betrays its sexy, piquant nature.

Checca Checca is the opposite of politically correct. In Rome, a campy homosexual is derisively called a "checca." This is a delicious summer recipe that consists of small, tube-shaped pasta dressed with fresh minced tomatoes, torn basil leaves soaked in scalding tablespoons of olive oil. The hot oil bruises the tomatoes, causing the pasta to release even more starch and producing a creamy blend. Some add cubed mozzarella, but I try to keep dairy from this dish. When more raw vegetables are chopped and added in, the dish changes name to "crudaiola."

Ravioli Capresi Capri's signature dish is perfectly round pasta "pockets" filled with caciotta (ewe's milk cheese), eggs and marjoram. The ancient dish has been handed down the generational chain to the point that everyone who makes it has a twist. Some shred the cheese, other grate it; some say the marjoram should be fresh, others prefer using the dried leaves; some demand the pasta dough be added with boiling water, others drizzle a thread of olive oil in the cold water.

Each version lovingly reflects the character of the person making it. Ravioli capresi are commonly dressed with plain fresh tomato sauce, a generous dusting of grated Parmasan cheese, and a few fresh basil leaves.

Pasta al Forno There's a universe beyond lasagna. Baked pasta dishes are creamy warm and velvety embraces that remind Italians of their childhood. Pasta al forno recipes are ample and include the Americanized mac and cheese.

Nothing beats the typical household classic, made with simple béchamel, cubed ham, peas and quick-to-melt Fontina cheese (a cow's milk cheese typical of the Valle d'Aosta region). Plunging a serving spoon into pasta al forno's golden crust releases spirals of steam, the perfumed aroma of rainy Sundays spent indoors. If you manage to hold off and not burn your tongue, the flavor is palatial. I'll take it any day over caviar. If you have leftovers (unlikely), cold pasta al forno is a day-and-night snack fit for kings.

Agnolotti del Plin Agnolotti are square ravioli typical of the Piedmont region. They're made with thinly flattened pasta dough, which is folded over and stuffed with ground meat and vegetable filling dressed with roast drippings. Typically, agnolotti are made with leftover cooked meat, an age-old Italian recycling trait that produces an elegant and tasty dish.

Ravioli del Plin first appeared in the late 19th-century in the Langhe, Monferrato and Roero areas of Piedmont. They're smaller than the classic square agnolotti pasta pockets. "Plin" means "to pinch" in dialect and refers to the way the dough around the meat filling is sealed. The crimping "plin" action not only seals the dumpling but also forms a concave dimple, perfect for collecting sauce.

Al Bric  


Cream of parmigiano with black truffles...

Exceptional ambience at this charming Campo area enoteca and restaurant. Bread and pasta are homemade and cheeses of every description rule the roost. The locale offers over 1,000 wine labels, with the staff eager to match wine to meals. Cuisine is Italian with a French twist. Nice for a romantic dinner. Don't go here expecting Rome trattoria fare. This is upscale and esoteric. To wit: tagliata of grilled ox with potatoes; swordfish stroganoff with fresh thyme and squid sauce; bucatini with black pepper and aged caciocavallo cheese. Closed Sunday night and most of August. — Cristina Polli

Visa/Mastercard  
Via del Pellegrino, 51-52, Rome, IT-RM Map
Tel. 06.687.9533
http://www.bric.it
Open Daily


Antico Forno Roscioli  


Roscioli's delights: Bread, cheese and wine.

Campo de' Fiori, or just Campo to Rome’s conoscenti, offers a slew of cheerful restaurants and wine bars. As a lunch or light dinner spot, Roscioli gets applause for fresh bread (home baked) of every kind. Grab pizza bianca and cheese delights over the counter. Pasta and veggie prices depend on kilo weight. Delicious foccaccia and yeast-heavy Lariano bread with raisins, olives or nuts. Supplis (rice and potato croquettes) are also a must. You can take out. Wines by the hundreds. Opens at 7 a.m. The Roscioli restaurant is around the corner. — Cristina Polli

Major Credit Cards  
Via dei Chiavari, 34, Rome, IT-RM Map
Tel. 06.686.4045
http://www.anticofornoroscioli.com
Closed Sundays


Ciccio Bomba  


Try the moscardini.

A lively, lovely, and loud Rome restaurant (crystal on the tables) that attracts a young crowd and sits on one of the city’s great shopping streets. Great place for a Rome food break. Try a delicate fritto misto of calamari or moscardini (little octopuses) when in season. Reasonable prices. — Suzanne Dunaway

Visa/Mastercard  
Via del Governo Vecchio, 76, Rome, IT-RM Map
Tel. 06.6880.2108
Closed Wednesdays



Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

Everything you need to know about visiting or moving to Tuscany, Italy.