Rome, the Eternal City, is not only renowned for its ancient ruins and breathtaking architecture but also for its vibrant culinary scene. While classics like pasta and pizza often steal the spotlight, the city harbors a treasure trove of lesser-known delicacies that promise to surprise and delight adventurous food enthusiasts. Join us on a journey of culinary discovery as we unveil 10 unusual Italian delicacies to try in Rome, showcasing the city's remarkable gastronomic heritage.
1. Coda alla Vaccinara (Braised Oxtail)
A hearty and tender dish, this slow-cooked oxtail stew showcases the inventive nature of Roman cuisine, combining flavors of tomato, celery, and aromatic spices.
Best Eaten With: Creamy polenta or mashed potatoes, allowing you to savor the rich flavors of the oxtail stew and to enjoy the contrast in textures.
2. Pajata (Intestines of Unweaned Calves)
A daring delicacy, Pajata features the intestines of unweaned calves cooked with tomato sauce, resulting in a creamy and rich dish typically enjoyed with pasta.
Best Eaten With: Freshly made pasta, such as rigatoni or spaghetti, as it helps to absorb the creamy sauce and complements the unique flavors of the dish.
3. Filetti di Baccalà (Fried Salted Cod)
Rome's take on a classic, Filetti di Baccalà consists of lightly battered and fried salted cod fillets. Enjoy them with a squeeze of lemon for a tangy twist.
Best Eaten With: A side of mixed greens or a fresh tomato salad, providing a refreshing and crisp contrast to the fried cod fillets.
4. Coratella (Sautéed Lamb Offal)
A dish for adventurous palates, Coratella brings together lamb offal, including liver, heart, and lungs, sautéed with artichokes, garlic, and white wine for a unique blend of flavors.
Best Eaten With: Crusty bread or roasted potatoes, allowing you to savor the flavorful lamb offal and to enjoy the dish with some satisfying accompaniments.
5. Rigatoni con la Pajata (Pasta with Intestines)
Building on the popularity of Pajata, this Roman pasta dish combines rigatoni with the flavorful sauce made from the aforementioned intestines, creating a delicious and indulgent pairing.
Best Eaten With: A full-bodied red wine, such as Sangiovese or Montepulciano, which complements the richness of the pasta sauce and enhances the flavors of the intestines.
6. Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish-Style Artichokes)
A beloved Jewish-Roman specialty, Carciofi alla Giudia involves deep-frying whole artichokes until they become golden and crispy, resulting in a delectable combination of textures.
Best Eaten With: A glass of Prosecco or a crisp white wine, as the effervescence and acidity help cut through the richness of the deep-fried artichokes.
7. Fettuccine al Tartufo (Truffle Fettuccine)
AIndulge in the decadent flavors of Fettuccine al Tartufo, a dish featuring fresh pasta coated in a rich sauce infused with black or white truffles, a true delicacy in the region.
Best Eaten With: A glass of full-bodied red wine, such as Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino, which harmonizes with the earthy flavors of the truffles and complements the creamy pasta.
8. Gnocchi alla Romana (Roman-Style Semolina Gnocchi)
Made from semolina flour, milk, and cheese, these baked semolina gnocchi are shaped into disks and then layered with butter and Parmesan cheese, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth delight.
Best Eaten With: A simple tomato sauce or a light mushroom sauce, allowing the delicate flavors of the gnocchi to shine through without overpowering them.
9. Salame di Cioccolato (Chocolate Salami)
Satisfy your sweet tooth with this delightful dessert. Despite its name, Salame di Cioccolato is a no-bake treat made with crushed biscuits, cocoa powder, butter, and nuts, shaped like a salami and sliced to reveal a chocolatey surprise.
Best Eaten With: A cup of espresso or a glass of dessert wine, such as Vin Santo, to enhance the richness of the chocolate and to provide a delightful contrast in flavors.
10. Gelato di Zabaione (Zabaione Gelato)
A traditional Italian dessert transformed into frozen goodness, Gelato di Zabaione features a silky gelato made with egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine, resulting in a heavenly treat to cool off with on a Roman summer day.
Best Eaten With: Fresh berries or a drizzle of chocolate sauce, adding a burst of freshness or a touch of indulgence to complement the smooth and creamy zabaione gelato.