The Gricia: what is it and where to eat it in Rome
All three of these famous Roman pasta dishes start out as a gricia. Why? Because the carbonara and the amatriciana have the same ingredients + an extra one. The gricia is one of the oldest dishes in Roman cuisine and also one of the easiest to make. But careful, simple isn’t a synonym for easy when it comes to cooking. The ingredients to make a gricia are guanciale, pecorino cheese and pepper. The number one rule? The guanciale needs to be crispy–if it isn’t, you’re in the wrong place.
So where can you order an amazing gricia in Rome? Head to the foodie district of Testaccio, near Trastevere, and get yourself a reservation to the famous Flavio al Velavevodetto.
The carbonara: what is it and where to eat in in Rome
While carbonara is the new kid in town when it comes to these three Roman pastas, it’s probably my favorite. The ingredients to make pasta alla carbonara are guanciale, pecorino cheese, pepper and eggs. A perfectly executed carbonara is creamy, has crispy guanciale, and the eggs aren’t cooked like a frittata.
I’ll recommend two places for you to taste a great carbonara in Rome. The famous Da Teo, one of the best trattorias in Rome sitting on Piazza dei Ponziani in the beautiful Trastevere neighbourhood. Portions are huge, and the carbonara is heaven on a plate. For a more contemporary restaurant, you need to get yourself to Eggs. Apart from the classic take on Carbonara, there are other 9 variations you can order, including carbonara with truffle shavings. YUM!
The amatriciana: what is it and where to order it
As you might have guessed, the amatriciana pasta gets its name from Amatrice, a town in the province of Rieti where it was born. The amatriciana is simply a gricia with an extra ingredient: tomato sauce. While crispy guanciale is essential, the real secret behind this dish is the guanciale’s fat and the tomato sauce, which should be exclusively made with ripe tomatoes. Personally, I find the amatriciana the hardest of the three Roman dishes.
If you’re in Rome on the hunt for the perfect amatriciana, you need to get yourself to the intimate Osteria del Sostegno–a charming restaurant a stone’s throw away from the Pantheon that truly sets the standard for the perfect amatriciana.