Amatriciana. An iconic pasta dish and restaurant they make it best
Amatriciana. An iconic pasta dish and where they make it best
The Town of Amatrice (in the Rieti province), from which its name derives, has recently protected the matriciana with a brand name of origin. Although imported, it is one of the most popular dishes in Roman cuisine.
The amatriciana is listed among the agroindustrial products of the Lazio region. Its many variations (with bucatini and rigatoni) can be modified and adjusted, although the original recipe specifies spaghetti with a creamy sauce (strictly without onions or garlic) made with fried jowl bacon, dry white wine, tomatoes and pecorino cheese.
Historically preceded by the gricia, made without tomatoes, the amatriciana was invented in the 19th century, as Francesco Leopardi wrote in his cooking manual L’Apicio Moderno. Between the 19th and 20th century many tavern owners from Amatrice moved to Rome and the term Matriciano eventually came to refer to an inn with a kitchen. Back then, Romans were close-minded and not open to change. People would whisper, “è rivato un tipo strano che pareva un matriciano” (a strange guy has arrived, he seems like a matriciano), to brand those who aspired to open a tavern in the Capital. But the matriciani ended up winning the match.
Recently the amatriciana has become the symbol of the reconstruction of Amatrice, destroyed in August 2016 by a violent earthquake. Today it represents a basic dish in the regional cuisine, but also a traditional Italian dish, served in most restaurants in Rome. Here are a few that make it according to tradition, to the delight of their customers’ taste buds.
Armando Gargioli opened his small trattoria, Da Armando al Pantheon, in 1961 near Piazza Navona. Today his children and grandchildren continue the tradition of express dishes and flawless service. Chef Claudio Gargioli prepares timeless classics made with Martelli pasta, artisanally produced near Pisa and bronze-drawn, ideal for capturing the flavors of the sauces. Salita de’ Crescenzi 31, tel. 06 68803034, www.armandoalpantheon.it.
Brother and sister, Giacomo and Grazia Lo Bianco have been running Matricianella, a short walk away from Via del Corso, for over twenty years. They have gained the trust of their customers with their high-quality local dishes – without ever giving into trends and exoticism. Three chefs cook the quinto quarto (a traditional dish made with offal) on Wednesday, gnocchi on Thursday, baccalà (cod) on Friday and tripe on Saturday. But amatriciana is on the menu every day. Their well-supplied wine cellar offers over 700 labels, only Italian. Via del Leone 4, tel. 06 6832100, www.matricianella.it.
Located in the Esquilino quarter, the Vecchia Roma celebrates 100 years of tradition in a vintage ambiance. It has been run by the Colangeli family since 1938. It began as a cantina where wines and oils were sold and is now known for its home-style dishes. In the 1980s they invented their own version of the amatriciana flambè, where the pasta is tossed in a pecorino cheese wheel. Via Ferruccio 12 b, tel. 06 4467143, www.trattoriavecchiaroma.it.
In the heart of Trastevere since 1935, Da Checco er Carrettiere is both a traditional osteria and a modern restaurant with old photographs covering the walls. The cart in the entry is the one Checco used to transport wine from the Castelli region to the city. His three granddaughters now run the business. Inside the osteria you can still see the old beamed ceiling and original frescoed walls. The atmosphere here is informal and the menu of the day shorter. Under the restaurant, a magnificent open cellar with over 350 labels. Via Benedetta 10, tel. 06 5817018, www.checcoercarrettiere.it.
Located in the Testaccio quarter, Da Bucatino serves the authentic flavors of Rome. An informal restaurant with paintings and photos on the walls that celebrate the history of Rome. Traditional dishes are served in a cozy ambiance. Customers are given large bibs to keep their shirts clean while eating bucatini. They have served over 12,000 customers since they opened. Via Luca della Robbia 84, tel. 06 5746886, www.dabucatino.it.
Run by the Trivelloni family for decades, Felice in the Testaccio quarter has been feeding its customers old-school Roman dishes since 1936. The first owner, Felice, is a legend in Rome, as regular customer Roberto Benigni confirms. The interior has undergone some restyling, but the cuisine is authentically Roman, which means there is a specific traditional dish prepared on each day of the week. Broad choice of wines from their wine list of over 200 labels. Via Mastro Giorgio 29, tel. 06 574 6800, www.feliceatestaccio.it.