Carciofi, or artichokes, are enormously popular in Italy – some 90 varieties are grown – and especially prized in Rome. Many varieties are offered in the markets, including the large, thorn-less Romanesco, slim Cantanese and the tender Vioetta. In Rome, they are flattened and fried twice for carciofi alla giudia (Jewish style) an ancient recipe that was born in the Roman ghetto. Carciofi alla Romana, artichokes stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsley, anchovies, salt and pepper, is another famous Roman dish.
Some of Italy’s best-known pasta dishes originated in Lazio. Bucatini all’Amatriciana, with its sauce of pancetta, tomatoes, and chili pepper, was born in Amatrice, a little village on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo, but the Romans have claimed it for their own.
Romans, whose passion for pasta is legendary, also take credit for inventing Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (streetwalker’s spaghetti, so named for the local prostitutes who were said to enjoy its nourishing qualities), which includes garlic, tomatoes, capers, olives, herbs, and anchovies; and Spaghetti alla Carbonara, made with bacon, eggs, butter, and cheese.
Tiramisu, which means “pick me up,” may not have originated in Rome, but it is an adopted specialty of the city. The ingredients – mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, raw eggs, sugar, espresso coffee, ladyfingers, liquor and cocoa – result in a scrumptious cold dessert. There are many different recipes for tiramisu; the main differences usually are found in the type of liquor used.
Typical food from Latium include:
Abbacchio alla cacciatora: baby lamb cooked with rosemary, garlic, anchovies, vinegar.
Baccala’ in guazzetto: salt cod in a sauce of olive oil, onions, tomato, pine nuts, raisins.
Cozze alla marinara: mussels steamed in their juice with garlic, tomato, parsley.
Fettuccine al burro: feather-light egg noodles with butter, cream and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Mazzancolle alla griglia: large prawns grilled with a brushing of olive oil and lemon.
Pasta e ceci: soup of chickpeas with garlic, rosemary and pasta noodles.
Penne all’arrabbiata: pasta tubes with a ‘raging’ hot sauce of tomatoes, garlic and chili pepper.
Pollo alla romana: young chicken braised in olive oil and white wine with green peppers, tomatoes and garlic
Pomodori ripieni: large tomatoes hollowed and baked with a filling of their pulp, rice, potatoes, garlic and basil, usually served as antipasto.
Rigatoni con la pajata: squat pasta tubes with sauce based on milk-fed calf’s intestine cooked with tomato, salt pork, garlic, herbs and spices, topped with grated pecorino.