Rome. Rome is my absolute favorite. I love how small it is. I love how all the incredible ancient Roman architecture is all just THERE, all seamlessly integrated into the city. Sure, it’s touristy, but New York is just as touristy, if not worse (if you disagree, try walking through Times Square in the afternoon on ANY day). I’m super bummed that we only gave ourselves a full day in Rome this trip. We had already been to Rome before so wanted to give the new cities more time…
Alas, there was only one dinner in Rome. We stayed at this beautiful boutique hotel that was owned by a warm and welcoming couple. They sat us down over cappuccinos when we checked in to make sure we knew where to go, how to get there, what to eat, etc. They were so awesome, I decided to forego the restaurant we went to our first time in Rome (that we LOVED and that I am still nostalgic for) to go to one that they suggested instead. Zi Umberto (Piazza San Giovanni della Malva, 14) is their favorite restaurant to go to in Rome. They go all the time with family and friends.
Thoroughly addicted to prosciutto and mozzarella at this point, we decided to get it again. This prosciutto was more to my liking: softer, less salty, and more porky in flavor. The mozzarella was so fresh that it was still oozing that milky brine stuff (I know my shiz because I know how to make mozzarella!). So creamy, juicy, and tasty.
LAW got the amatriciana, which was surprisingly the first time I had tried it. Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta that tastes like the simple, spicy arrabbiata, but with BACON. Well, not bacon, “guanciale” or cured pork cheek is what they call it. Zi Umberto makes it with a THICK and chewy spaghetti. The sauce is tomatoey, spicy (from dried chilies), garlicy, bacony, and just a tad cheesy from the parmesan sprinkled on top. Damn this is good. Anyone know of a place in New York with good amatriciana? I might just need to get it asap.
Oh man, seeing this image makes me sad. So, it took me a long time to decide what to order. Up until this point, I had been ordering all the “experimental” pastas, while LAW got to get the thick bolognese and spicy arrabbiatas, all of our favorites. Since LAW got the amatriciana, I decided to get a fettuccine with cherry tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Sounds great on paper because it had all the right ingredients. And… it was good. It was what it looks like in this photo. Very, very simple. Tomatoes were fresh and sweet. But compared to the robust sauce of the amatriciana, my pasta made me sad. LAW offered to switch, and I didn’t for some reason… I was being nice? WHY?!
I miss you, Rome, and I’m sad that I didn’t get to have the perfect meal before I left.