A typical Roman pasta dish: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Commonly and simply called Cacio e Pepe, this is a pasta dish typical of the Roman cuisine. In this simple dish you can find the majesty of Rome but at the same time a city which doesn’t forget the simplicity of its districts. As its name suggests, the ingredients are very simple and include only black pepper, Roman pecorino cheese and pasta.  

Numerous are the versions, original or revisited, that you can find in the city but each of them have one thing in common: they are the best you can eat once in Rome. 

pasta cacio e pepe

pasta cacio e pepe

How to recreate the recipe at home? 

Follow this simple steps: 

Ingredients: 

  • 320g spaghetti  
  • Q.s. black pepper in grains 
  • 200gr Roman pecorino cheese (to grate) 
  • Q.s. salt 

Procedure: 

  1. First of all, grate the pecorino cheese and then boil water in a saucepan and finally add salt to it as much as you want. Now you can cook the spaghetti.  
  2. In the meantime, put the black pepper on a cutting board and squach them with a pestle or a grinder. In this way, the pepper emanate more its aroma.  
  3. Pour half of the black pepper into a nonstick and wide pan, toast them at low heat while kniding them, then blend with some of the cooking water used for the pasta.  

    A typical Roman pasta dish

    A typical Roman pasta dish

  4. Drip the spaghetti (keep aside the cooking water used), pour them into the pan and continue the cooking with the seasoning.  
  5. Move them continuously with pliers and add some water if needed to proceed with the cooking of the pasta.  
  6. While the pasta is finishing its cooking, pour half of the pecorino cheese in a bowl and add a wooden spoon of cooking water to the bowl. 
  7. Knid energetically with a whip. Add the remaining cheese, keeping a little part for the final seasoning. 
  8. If needed add some water in order to obtain a cream with the right consistency and without clumps. 
  9. Turn off the flame of the pan with pasta and pour the cheese cream while kniding continuously the spaghetti. Pour also the remaining cheese.  
  10. Now serve the spaghetti cacio e pepe and savour it with all its cream. 

Suggestion: it is suggested to consume the dish immediately and avoid any type of conservation. 

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

If you are pasta lover, you can’t miss to taste it at least once. This is the perfect occasion for you: join the Afternoon Food Tour with Beer Tasting in Rome 

Meet your local guide in Rome: Alessia

Come to Rome and choose now a food tour! Your Roman, local and knowledgeable guide Alessia is impatient to meet you and show you the Italian culinary traditions! After the tour with Alessia, you’ll love more the Eternal city!

Read on and start to know better your local guide, she has something to share with you!

Meet your local guide: Alessia

Meet your local guide: Alessia

Name:  Hi! My name’s Alessia

Nationality and Hometown? I’m Italian and I live in Rome

Name of tour you lead and where: I lead the Food Pizza & Colosseum Tour and the Easy Entrance Colosseum & Vittoriano tour  😉 )

If you are not from the city you are based in for tours, what originally brought you there? I’m from Rome

Your favorite part of the tour:  The end, when our travellers tell me how fun and interesting the tour was. This makes me very happy.

Selfie during the tour

Selfie during the tour

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: My neighbour’s, she is a great cooker! I also love the little trattorias in Trastevere district.

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss: The 360 degree view from the terrace of the VittorianoSomething that takes you breath away!

Favorite Travel Quote? The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

What’s next on your travel bucket list? I’ll take a flight and go oversea to see the beautiful Australia & New Zeland.

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to? Don’t have only one. I love Burano, Elba Island and Sicily… but one of my favourite places in Italy is Matera, magical and without time.

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Be careful when crossing the street!! 😀 And wear comfortable shoes for an amazing discovery of our beautiful cities through our bike, segway and walking tour! 🙂

Montanara pizza

Montanara pizza

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Gelato and the montanara pizza! Both of them are in our pizza tour 😉 )

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? Difficult question! Every tour is a very special experience for me but for sure I will never forget the face of the travellers when they taste the delicious food and drinks during the tour! It’s so satisfying to see that they are enjoying the Italian food as well as Italian do.

What do you like most about leading tours? Meeting people from all over the world and have the opportunity to share my knowledge and my passion for my beautiful country.

What makes your tour unique? The love that I have for my job… I always try to make them fun & educational at the same time.

Are you a food-lover? Then come to Rome and book now a Rome Food Pizza and Colosseum Tour with Italy city tours and ask for Alessia 😉

Meet your local guide in Rome: Renato

During a pizza tour

During a pizza tour

Planning your vacation to Rome? Then you have to check which tour to book and who’s the best guide in town!
Renato is an energetic, passioned Italian guide who fell in love with Rome at a young age and his passion for the Eternal city is still burning greatly! If you’re a foodie and want to try something different that takes you our of the beaten paths, Renato and his food tours, are perfect for you: a great mix of culture, italian delicacies, humor and lots of smiles!

Name:  My name is Renato and it’s hard for people to get it right so don’t worry if you mispell it or misunderstand, at the end of the day, I’m just glad if you can remember me and our experience together 😉

Nationality and Hometown? Italian. Southern Italian to be exact. I’m originally from a small town of the Campania region. but i’ve been living in Rome since 1999.

Name of tour you lead and where: I’m leading Food Tours, Bike&food tours and segway tour too!

Hi, this is Renato!

If you are not from the city you are based in for tours, what originally brought you there? I moved to Rome to study, at least that’s what I told my parents to convice them, but I did graduate. Above all, I was eager for life and that you can really get in a big town such as Rome 🙂

Your favorite part of the tour: The orange trees park on the Aventine Hill. I could stay there for hours, looking at the city from that perspective.

Orange Garden at Aventino

Orange Garden at Aventino

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: Restaurant “Maccheroni”, near the Pantheon. The carbonara they make is to die for!!

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss: Trastevere area: it’s charming, intriguing and still medieval. A unique part of Rome.

Favorite Travel Quote? A Roma, non basta una vita (Silvio Negro) – For Rome, a lifetime is not enough.

What’s next on your travel bucket list?  New Orleans, Mississipi! I want to breath and leave the jazzy groove and try the cajun and creole specialty! Can’ wait!

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to?  Venice. It might sound a cliche but I can’t help it!

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Come prepared and bring a lot of patience too 🙂

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Jewish style artichoke

Carciofi alla Giudia

Carciofi alla Giudia

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? An elderly couple asked me to stop right in the spot where 30 years earlier they had taken a picture and they wanted to take the same picture.

What do you like most about leading tours? Good vibes from the people

Renato on tour!

Renato on tour!

What makes your tour unique? Enthusiasm. I get excited every time I tell people stories about Rome.

Home made Italian limoncello

Home made Italian Limoncello

italian home made limoncello

If you’ve traveled to Italy already you know how important is to offer a limoncello at the end of the dinner. You’ll get to meet some of these traditions during our food tours ! Traditional liquor from the coast of Campania region, this drink has to be served cold and you will probably be served it in a frozen small glass. However, this is not a good reason to serve it only in the summertime! Limoncello is pretty much enjoyed an all-year round in Italy! Making it at home is easy and only requires time and good organic lemons. Have you ever tried? Here is a possible recipe! Consider that in Italy we can buy 95% alcohol for liquor making. Depending on where you live, you may use any grape-based strong spirit, like vodka.

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 (preferably organic) lemons
  • 500 ml 95% alcohol (vodka will also do)
  • 700 ml of water
  • 600 gr of sugar

home made italian limoncello

First stage: lemon essence

Wash and rinse the lemons first, being careful to clean properly the surface of the lemon skin. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemons in long strips and then chop them into small pieces. Place the lemon peels in a bottle or a hermetic closing jar. Pour the spirit over the peels and close the bottle or the jar. Leave to rest for 3 around weeks at room temperature and in a dark place.

Second stage: the sweet pinch

At the end of the 3 weeks, you are good to add the syrup! Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts. Cool completely before pouring It over the lemon-spirit mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 7 days. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer to discard the peels. At this point, you can transfer the almost-ready limoncello to bottles.

Last stage: the waiting

Now what? Only time will tell! Seal the bottles keep them in a dark place for around 40 days! At the end of this time, your limoncello will be finally ready!

Store it in the freezer and serve it ghiacciato! Easy, isn’t it? Don’t shy off and be your own limoncello maker!

Home made Italian limoncello

For more questions or to speak with an Italian expert, join our tours and discover everything you need to know about Italian culture!

 

Trapizzino: a new Roman tradition

New trends in Italy: Trapizzino!

Tired of pizza? If you are passionate and curious of the new entry in Italian culinary tradition, we have some good news for you! We cover most of Italy’s screed along with our Rome Food Tour with Skip the Line Colosseum Guided TourIn the heart of Rome, a new way of eating Italian food is born!

trapizzino roma

Trapizzino is something halfway between calzone or panzerotto: it has a triangular sandwich shape and the bread is the same dough of pizza. It can go with various fillings, which are cooked separately. Imagine something like a panino, but not quite. A panino in Italy can be filled with salami, cold cuts, cheeses and maybe pickles and it can come in many different forms of bread. Trapizzino is different. Tomato and mozzarella, beef or chicken: unlike its ancestor it can be filled with any of the great Italian dishes. Basically, it is a way of eating Italian delicatessen on the go! Great idea, isn’t it?

trapezzino roma

As all new things, they are still to be fully accepted by Italians. Some welcomed it as a great innovation, some others complain about the “globalization” influence on our traditions: food is to be eaten seated and any major meal should last at least an hour!

trapizzino roma

The inventor of Trapizzino is Stefano Callegari. It was in 2008 when he had this idea while working on his pizza-by-the-slice shop in Rome. At the beginning it was almost a scandal: Italian traditional dishes transformed into quick and take-away snacks! And then, straight after this reaction, it was a  great success!

Right now, there are trapizzini places in several Italian cities and it is very appreciated by foreigners too! Come and find out more with our Food Walking Tour in Rome!

 

Meet your local guide in Rome: Tony ;)

Meet your local guide in Rome: Tony

Hello, my name is Tony!

Meet your local guide in Rome: Tony. Italy Food Culture Tours. Planning a visit to Rome? Here are some tips from Tony, The Best foodie guide in town!! Tony will lead you to his favourite places and restaurants, with tips on how to make the most of your stay in Rome.

Name:  My name is Tony

Nationality and Hometown? I’m Italian and proud roman

Name of tour you lead and where: I lead the Food tours, bike&food tours and also segway tours!

What’s your favorite part of the tour: The delicious slice of pizza outdoor, in the middle of the street inside the magical frame of  Campo de fiori market.. an authentic spot of italian life.

Meet your local guide in Rome: Tony

The lovely “Campo dei Fiori” square

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: “Dar filettaro” (translated from roman: the filet guy 😉 ) you cannot miss this, because it’s the first “roman fast food ever”. The place is near Campo dei Fiori  square.

One thing visitors to your city can’t miss: The Jewish Ghetto, this area is like a natural movie set. You’ll feel like stepping into ” Roman Holidays” or “La dolce vita”, I promise!

What’s next on your travel bucket list? The east, Asia. I want to go to Vietnam, a country with great culture, places and people! I can’t wait!!

Overview of Matera

Overview of Matera, it’s beautiful!

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to?  Matera, the italian Jerusalem. This city is one of the many pearl of our unique country, as well as being one of the most ancient towns -still inhabited- in the world. I wish it was more appreciated nationally and internationally.

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? The tip of using your heart…travelling to our country must be an initiative completely natural and spontaneous to fully appreciated our culture.

The delicious "Pasta alla Gricia"

The delicious “Pasta alla Gricia”

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Of course it’s the pasta alla gricia. Might have heard of pasta all’amatriciana, well this is the ancestor of amatriciana and one certainly needs to try both to learn how they’re made and which is your favourite. 🙂 If you’re an expert on Italian food, you could try this at home!

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? The most memorable experience, was a marriage proposal during a Segway tour, by night, in Rome….an offer which is impossible to refuse!

Meet your local guide in Rome: Tony

Here we are on a food stop of our tour!

What do you like most about leading tours? To meet people from allover the world, to interact with them and to share our culture and backgrounds. There’s always something to learn, from every single person.

What makes your tour unique? My passion! To me this is not only a job but it’s a way of living and share all my love for my beautiful city.

Pasta alla Gricia: Roman cuisine triumph

New year is on! Welcome 2018!

Pasta alla Gricia: Roman cuisine triumph

Do you already know how you want to start this new year? We suggest starting with new things! In terms of food, what about trying a recipe that it is popular in Italy but yet not regularly in Italian restaurants menus? There are some Italian dishes that are simply everywhere. Think about Carbonara or Arrabbiata or the famous Alfredo Pasta, completely unknown in Italy. Well, Gricia is that kind of pasta you will find in Roman trattorias, but quite rarely is to be found elsewhere in Italy. And yet is an easy and mouth-watering recipe! Sure that you’ll have a try along with our Roma Food Tour! Ingredients? Really few! Only thing you need is a good Italian Food shop where you can buy guanciale and percorino romano!

pasta alla gricia

 

Ingredients for two people

 – few thick-cut slices of guanciale

 – 4 tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano

 – 200 gr pasta

Directions

Pour around 3 liters of water in a pot, salt it, and bring it to boil. Take into the account that both pecorino romano and guanciale are quite salty so you don’t need much of salt. If you can, try to find exactly pecorino romano and not other types of pecorino.

While the water is heating, slice the guanciale thinly into strips or even dices, or whatever shape you like. Put it in a pan that is big enough to contain also the pasta  – that you’ll add later on –  and place over medium heat. You need to cook it until the fat is cooked but yet not too brown or crispy.

pasta alla gricia

Once ready, add a spoon of water from the pasta pot and let it on low heat. Add the pasta to the water when it starts to boil properly. Now, you can follow the instruction on the pasta box on how long it should cook or drain it just a minute before so that it is al dente. Keep a cup of the cooking water aside before draining the pasta. Add the pasta to the guanciale and use the cup of cooking water to mix well.

At this point, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, just as much as to create a white thin coat on the pasta.

Grind some black pepper oh the pasta and serve immediately!

pasta alla gricia

Pasta alla Gricia is one of my favorite ones – and don’t tell anyone  – I like to exaggerate with pecorino romano, so I suggest you feel free to do that. If you need to cook for more people just calculate proportionally! It is a great dish to share according to the Roman tradition! Curious about finding out more about Rome? Join us for our Rome Tour Food!

Italian Christmas traditions: from North to South

Christmas is coming… It’s time to enter this joyful moment of the year, during which everything is lightened and colorful.

And yet I really want all of you who are planning to visit Italy this time of the year to be ready, so let me just introduce the topic, would you? There is something very important to keep in mind when talking about Christmas Italian traditions: there is not such a thing as a single tradition! This is the very first thing to know when talking about Christmas in Italy! If you don’t trust me, you can ask about it to any of our tour guides along our Food Tours, they’ll surely confirm!

 Italian Christmas Traditions

As for many other things, food is a profound marker of Italy’s regional differences. In our country, every single region is proudly rich of its own local culture. One example? Panettone can be bought in any supermarket in Italy, but it is originally baked in the North! There will be no Southern nonna baking it at home!

 Italian Christmas Traditions

The same thing goes for tortellini, which are a tradition of Central Italy, usually homemade for big occasions. During Christmas time, tortellini are prepared in brodo, (in broth) and are served on Christmas day, and might be followed by bollito misto (a mix of boiled meat with special sauces and pickles).

 capitone_umido-986x400

Less famous are the Southern Italy Christmas traditions: in Rome and Neaples for example capitone is a must (even said anguilla in Italian, eel in English). This tradition most probably comes from Neaples, which lays by the sea and make therefore fish available quite easily. Some tried to associate it symbolically to a way of “eating” the devil, since the sneak-like shape of eel. Anyhow, the most traditional families buy the capitone on the 23rd, still alive, to cook it on the 24th. Indeed Capitone is eaten on Christmas eve, since it is a well-known rule widespread all around the country that it is better to eat fish on this day.

 Italian Christmas Traditions

Also typical of most of the Southern regions (Campania, Pulia, Calabria) are the zeppole (also called struffoli in some areas). This dessert is as simple as delicious: it is basically fried sweet bread dough. As easy it may sound, it represents a basic and yet strictly present part of the Christmas eve table. The Southern you go along the boot-shaped country, the wider the variety of sweets gets! Usually, a selection of fruits, both dried and fresh, are offered too (with a copious assortment of nuts). Better to keep it in mind if you ever happen to be invited to an Italian Christmas table, so that you can keep some appetite for the last course!

 

There are many other traditional Italian Christmas dishes! Don’t be shy, be curious and ask more during our Food Tours! Stay tuned for some luscious r

How to prepare the best tomato sauce for your pizza

What is the best pizza you have ever eaten? Think about it before you answer and ask yourself what was so special about this pizza?? Next time you are in Rome, be sure to join our Rome Pizza Tour to taste the best pizza in Rome!

Pizza Tomato SauceThe first secret of a good pizza is a good tomato sauce! At the end of the day, it is what really makes a difference. A great dough can be ruined by a careless prepared tomato sauce. So here we go with some useful tips about the best tomato sauce for pizza EVER!

Ingredients (this should be enough for around ⅚ pizzas:

Extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tins of quality plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 tbsp tomato paste
  • dried oregano
  • basil
  • salt

Pizza Tomato SaucePut the oil in a pan together with the garlic. Cook until it becomes a bit golden, be careful not to burn it, it tastes horrible if overcooked. If that happens, you have to throw it away and start all over again! Add the tinned tomatoes and cook until almost dry, then add the tomato paste, some basil leaves, salt and oregano. If necessary, you can add also some spoons of water if you are not happy with the thickness of the sauce. Once ready, let it cool before spreading it on your pizza.

Now the most important question: when is the right time to add the tomato sauce to your pizza? Answer is: before baking the pizza! Only things that are allowed to be added once the pizza is baked are: prosciutto, rucola salad or other fresh ingredients. Another tip for your best pizza: please do not over “cheese” it! Taste your result! If you are not satisfied, come to Rome and taste the best pizza!

Fried Pizza: because pizza is always pizza!

Fried Pizza

Fried Pizza

How many types of pizzas have you tasted in your life? There are so many extravagant version of this typical Southern-Italian dish that it is sometimes impossible to distinguish original Italian ones. Well, there is always something new to try! You know what we are talking about if you’ve joined one of our Roma Pizza Tour!

One of the specialities of this tour is the fried pizza! Yes, you got it right! As if pizza was not good enough, we decided also to fry it! This recipe is of Neapolitan origins and it is called Montanara recipe, which takes its name from the montanari. I montanari  were the mountain peasants, who apparently used to eat fried bread dressed with tomatoes and cheese.  Just to give you an idea of how easy this recipe is!

So here is what you need to try to do Fried Pizza at home:

Ingredients

  • 800 gr basic pizza dough

  • Mozzarella (better if buffalo one)

  • 1 clove garlic , peeled and finely sliced

  • 400 gr good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

  • oregano

  • fresh basil

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • vegetable oil

It is better to prepare the tomato sauce first, so that once the dough is ready you can just dress it and enjoy your fried pizza while still warm. So, first of all heat a saucepan, pour few spoons of olive oil and add the sliced garlic. Cook gently over low fire. When the garlic turns light golden, add the tomatoes and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 20 minutes, turn the fire off, add some basil and put to one side.

Tomato Sauce for Fried Pizza

Now you’ll just have to fry your pizza base and it is ready! Let’s suppose here that you have already your basic pizza dough ready. Divide it in 12 balls of around 60 gr each and then flatten them to obtain a disk-like shape. Every disk of pizza is going to be fo 8-10 cm of diameter. At this point, heat 2 cm of vegetable oil on a frying pan and fry each pizza for 2 minutes or so on each side. Put the dough balls in the oil only when it is really hot. Remove them with tongs and place them on a tray with some kitchen papers, so that the extra oil is absorbed.

Fried Pizza

Now spread each one of the little pizza with a spoonful of the tomato sauce and tear over some mozzarella and few leaves of basil or dried oregano.

Here you go! Easy, tasty and colorful! Don’t forget to try the original Montanara recipe when you pass by Italy!