Tag: Rome

Pizza in Rome is an "elementary" experience – Italian Cuisine

Pizza in Rome is an "elementary" experience

In the alleys of Trastevere the smells, flavors and colors of the round-novelties baked by Mirko Rizzo chase each other

Coda alla vaccinara, saltimbocca, meatballs with sauce, chicory. They are among the typical dishes of Roman cuisine. Today they go from the plate to the Pizza and are transformed into tasty toppings for rigorously thin, well hydrated and rimless rounds.

The idea is of Mirko Rizzo, soul of The Elementary Trastevere (together with the partner Federico Feliziani), a novelty sign overlooking the alleys of old Rome. On one side Piazza Trilussa and the Lungotevere, on the other the Botanical Garden.

«It is a tribute to the city where I was born and to my mother Nina, a great lover of cooking. I learned from her to use the rolling pin, in the version without knobs and 30 cm long because the dough is often rolled out with just one hand ”, says Rizzo. «Let's make a pizza half a centimeter high, weighing 160-180 grams, leavening for 24 hours, cooked in wood. The flours (type 0 and 2, closest to wholemeal) come from a Marche mill, the extra virgin olive oil from Umbria ". A "bottom" ready to welcome special condiments: Coda Vaccinata (that's how it is called) mixes the classic vaccinara tail sauce with crunchy iced celery and grated dark chocolate, Bello de Nonna focuses on meatballs with sauce to lick the mustache with the addition of parmesan and parsley, Saltimbocca combines raw ham, fiordilatte, sage while Sweet Orange wants to satisfy vegetarians thanks to chicory, rich in phosphorus, calcium, vitamin A, married with sweet potato cream, pumpkin season, roasted onions, vegan garlic mayonnaise and a pinch of smoked paprika.

And, since the climate of Rome also invites you to stroll while eating in winter, Mirko Rizzo has also invented the Pizza al Volo. «Attention: we are not talking about pizza by the slice, but about a classic round folded and stuffed with other traditional recipes such as boiled meat in green sauce and pecorino and mint tripe, explains Rizzo. The Pizza al Volo by L’Elementare Trastevere can be bought "at the window" and enjoyed while looking at Rome. Breathing Rome. Eating Rome. Not just with the eyes.

Puntarelle as they are made in Rome – Italian Cuisine

The secrets of Checco er Carettiere, a historic Roman trattoria, where curled and seasoned chicory in the Roman style is considered an art that is learned as a child

The side dish par excellence a Rome: le chicory. From the end of autumn to the beginning of spring, when they are in season, in the Roman markets – and consequently in the restaurants – there is a curling of chicory. Because the hardest thing, in reality, is not to make them tasty, but to give them that typical curly shape that they only take if you work the right way. We asked how she prepares them to the cook of one of the most authentic restaurants in Rome.
She is Stefania Porcelli, cook and niece of Checco er Carettiere, in the kitchen for forty years, where he says he learned everything by stealing with his eyes. Including peeling and seasoning the chicory to perfection, which are the ones that, in many years of tasting, we have found among the most balanced in flavor and acidity, as well as perfect in consistency.
For the record: Checco er Carettiere, which gives the restaurant its name, is a mythological character from Trastevere who really existed. He began his career bringing the best wine of the Castles to the city, then he became an innkeeper and then … his wife was good at cooking and it all started from there.

Puntarelle as they are made in Rome

From Catalonian chicory to puntarella: "It takes patience!"

First of all, chicory is the most tender part of the Catalonian chicory. The heart of the plant and a few softer outer leaves are used. Processing is an art: in Rome it is easy to find and buy the special tool, a kind of grill with which to carve the heart of Catalonia from above and zac! threads are formed. Even if, as Stefania says, "it is better to remove them by hand, as they say in Rome, so as to also remove the external threads, which otherwise go between the teeth. It takes a lot of patience, but you can feel the difference . And in fact, since they are eaten raw, it is easy for some fibers to cause the annoying inconvenience, unless they are so precise as to clean them correctly.

To curl: water, ice and lemon

As soon as they are cleaned they are put on soaked in water, ice and lemon. It is the cold that, thanks to the thermal shock, helps to make them curl. The function of the lemon, on the other hand, is not to make them black, so as to preserve that beautiful palette of greens that goes from the very light of the threads that come from the heart of Catalonia to the darkest of the leaves.

The dressing: an emulsion that tastes of the sea

For Stefania, there is and must be garlic in the dressing of Roman chicory "but it must be only a distant memory because not everyone likes it". The role of anchovies is fundamental, which give the flavor and also the right component of salt. From Checco they rigorously buy the salted ones and then they desalinate them: "I have to see what they brought me, when they are already in oil you can hardly recognize what fish it is", comments Stefania, who over the years has consolidated the art of selection of the raw material. Then the emulsion is made with plenty of oil and vinegar. "The anchovies are crushed in a mortar until they are almost melted, together with the garlic, which must not be present in the dish, but only on the palate, then the emulsion is created with oil and vinegar ". Wanting to give a proportion, vinegar is a quarter of the oil: "Crush a dozen desalted anchovies in a mortar, rinsed and dried well, together with garlic and, if you like, a pinch of chilli. Once they have become a mush, start adding the oil, at least two tablespoons, and a teaspoon of vinegar. Of course you don't need salt because the anchovies already give their contribution of flavor , Stefania warns.

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The new best pizzerias in Rome – Italian Cuisine

The new best pizzerias in Rome

From low and crunchy to slice tasting, the best addresses in the capital. Divided by type of pizza to satisfy all tastes

For years a Rome the dispute between admirers of the so-called Roman pizza and lovers of the Neapolitan version was consummated. The former accused by the latter of adoring a kind of cracker; the last to eat a pizza that is never cooked enough. But, as you know, virtue lies somewhere in between and so the new wave of "grown Roman pizza" has happily entered the ring – making everyone agree – with the proponents of long leavening and the search for the "happy medium". Among the contenders were then added representatives of the gourmet version, where the attention to the dough is always present, but the principle of tasting in slices reigns, to taste more variations.

Roman Classical and Pinsa

The first, indeed the first, to revolutionize the concept of Roman pizza was Emma, bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre. Then we began to discuss leavening, rolling pin yes / rolling pin no, more or less marked edge, even arriving at a decalogue of Roman pizza. In the end, the lovers of the subject who have emerged from this diatribe are Mirko Rizzo, Jacopo Mercuro and Sami El Sabawi. You can find the first in the summer in the Appio park with its open-air Elementare pizzeria and all year round in the pizzeria of the same name just a step away from Piazza Trilussa. Second and third are in Tor Pignattara, a multi-ethnic suburb where half a gastronomic revolution is taking place. With his 180g Jacopo Mercuro is permanently sold out, thanks to a competitive Roman pizza and delicious fried foods, so much so that it has even doubled in times of Covid: the old restaurant has become the starting point for take-away and the new location is the modern home-base of his creations. Sami find it instead from In Rota, a typical Roman expression to say that his pizza is addictive. In fact, the dough convinces and the stuffed pizzas, as they always say in Rome, "rock". Pier Daniele Seu is also added to the list, in his "Tac! Thin & Crunchy ", taken to the beach in Ostia for the summer, but let's talk about him again in the gourmet section.


Since the end of 2016 Rome has become a land of conquest for the most famous Neapolitans. The first to open with its historical brand is the mythological one Michele, with the Condurro family who first opened a branch of the Forcella club in Rome, next to the Explora museum dedicated to children, then one in the Eur area. Another Neapolitan champion followed him: Gino Sorbillo, which first opened in Piazza Augusto Imperatore and then its Gourmand version at the Rinascente in Via del Tritone. Gourmet version also for Salvatore Di Matteo, who instead chose a side street a step away from Palazzaccio to bring his pizza and his sensational fried foods. And, remaining on the subject of fried food, the last Neapolitan to face the Capitoline market was The Masardona, famous for its fried pizzas, which has also chosen a super central place.
Outside the logic of the noble Neapolitans, they have made themselves appreciated with their Neapolitan version of pizza also Angelo Pezzella, which has a restaurant a little outside, a stone's throw from Capannelle, and in the Furio Camillo area there are instead The Quintiles, by Marco Quintili, who was appreciated not only for the excellent pizza but also for the monumental Neapolitan omelettes.

Modern Roman impasto

There are two forerunners of the new wave of pizza in Rome: Stefano Callegari and Giancarlo Casa. The first is the father of trapizzini, able to find the "right means" in his pizzerias. First among all, I take it out of the oven, in the Cinecittà area, the subject of a recent renovation and reopening, then followed over time by the openings of Round, in the Montesacro area, and of I break up, near San Giovanni. Among the peculiarities, his special recipe for pizza cacio e pepe, with that touch of genius that made him put ice on the base to prevent the pecorino from melting. Patron of The Gatta Mangiona, Giancarlo Casa is able to bring people from all over Rome to Monteverde. On the one hand, doughs with guaranteed digestibility, which over time have come closer and closer to the concept of Neapolitan (short cooking and soft consistency), on the other hand happy combinations with pizzas that border on the gourmet genre. Both, both Callegari and Casa, in addition to being proponents of good pizza, are also masters of supplì, so as tradition dictates in Rome, before ordering pizza you can't help but treat yourself to a supplì. Over time have they joined the two sacred monsters – even surpassing the masters? – students like Pier Daniele Seu, with his Seu Pizza Illuminati (but you can also find it in the reopened Central Market, with a more streamlined card). Romano di Ostia, Seu is found between Trastevere and Portuense and booking is a must for him too. Great study on the dough, excellent selection of raw materials and the ability to combine them with each other and the section of sweet pizzas is brilliant.

Gourmet pizza

As we said, it is necessary to introduce a new category, dedicated to those who offer pizzas that are mostly tastings. Real neutral bases to support daring combinations and products of inestimable value for their goodness. The master and forerunner of the genre is undoubtedly Edoardo Papa, patron of the pizzeria In the Forge, in the Monteverde area. The search for the finest ingredients is his workhorse, for a pizza to be eaten strictly in wedges, to be tasted with the other diners, to taste more versions. The only flaw, the prices not really popular, which lead this pizzeria to qualify rather in the range of gourmet restaurants. Kingdom of the brothers Alessio and Fabio Mattaccini, Clearance, in the Marconi-Ostiense area is the right pizzeria to have fun with tastings. Here the game gets tough because it involves not only tasting the various proposals in terms of topping, but above all four types of different doughs: classic, classic whole, in the round and unsettling. They are served directly in wedges, with a clear invitation to share.

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