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The 3 Famous Pastas of Rome (and Where to Eat Them)

Maccheroni all’Amatriciana at Tazio

There are three pasta sauces that are absolutely crucial to Roman cuisine, and while some of their origins may be disputed, they are most every menu for good reason. In this post I’m sharing some of my favorite places in the Eternal City to eat them. I’d encourage even those who stringently avoid carbs to make an exception to try at least one of these pasta dishes them in their native environs, because for some reason I don’t understand, pasta tastes far better in Italy than anywhere else (besides- that’s what hotel gyms are for).

Do you know some place in Rome that serves a killer amatriciana, cacio e pepe or carbonara that I need to try? Please let me know in the comments section and I’ll make an effort to taste those versions on my next visit.

Buccatini all’Amatriciana

Amatriciana sauce is my personal favorite of Rome’s signature pasta sauces. Made with tomatoes, guanciale, pecorino romano cheese and chili. Modern versions often include onions, garlic, and a touch of white wine. I’m not enough of a foodie to argue the merits of the purist version or any variations on it, nor am I particular when the sauce is paired with a less traditional noodle.  Taverna i Torquati (Via Manlio Torquato 3,  00181 Rome Phone +39 06 784 8385)  serves the best buccatini all’Amatriciana in Rome IMHO.  Frequented by Serie A soccer players who also love that you can also get a great steak, Taverna i Torquato is well off  the tourist track so be warned – there’s no English menu, but that’s half the fun (and Salvatore always serves me something delicious).

I love the red color of pasta all’Amatriciana

Spaghetti a Cacio e Pepe

This deceptively simple dish packs a lot of punch despite it’s few simple ingredients. Basically, it’s pasta noodles served with pecorino romano  cheese and pepper and is Italy’s old school riff on mac & cheese. Cacio e Pepe is better in Rome than any place else and modern versions can be rather light. Try it at Trattoria dal Cavalier Gino (Vicolo Rosini, 4, 00186 Rome Phone +39 06 6873434)

Simple but yum, that’s spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti  alla Carbonara is the heaviest of the three most famous Roman sauces, made with eggs, cheese (usually Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano), bacon (usually guanciale or pancetta), and is seasoned with black pepper and garlic. I never go out of my way to order this one as I usually find it too heavy, but I’ll always have a bite if someone at the table orders the carbonara As with pretty much all Italian food, don’t let the bad version you tasted at Olive Garden turn you off from trying this distinctly Roman and satisfying dish. Tazio (Piazza della Repubblica, 47, Rome Phone:+39 06 4893 806) a serves a deliciously sticky version and has a nice patio if you’d like to dine outside.

Spaghetti Carbonara has a rich yellow color

If your only in a Rome for a brief time, or a YOLO type game to try all three of Rome’s most famous pastas at once, some restaurants serve tasting menus that include all three. Tazio (Piazza della Repubblica, 47, Rome Phone:+39 06 4893 806) serves all three (plus dessert)  for 39 Euros.