Based on the recommendations posted online in Chowhound and Giada de Laurentiis’ blog, Eduardo and I made our way to Matricianella, close to the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps). The clientele consisted mostly of local/Italian customers, with a few foreign tourist tables. Given that we had a late lunch of pizza in Campo di Fiori (Pizzeria del Mercato), we stuck to a fritto misto, two primi, and two desserts. Funny note, we were originally looking for Pizzeria del Antico Forno, another Chowhound recommendation, for lunch and it turned out to be closed by the Italy’s health department. I guess we know now why that pizza was so tasty. At Del Mercato we went for a white anchovy/squash flower and a red ‘diavola’ – spicy sausage. Pizza in Rome was thin crusted, and the toppings were added sparingly, but they were very good quality.
Back to Matricianella… . They had one binder just for Italian wines. We went again for a Tuscan selection, a Morellino di Scansano, the picture of the label is in the previous blog entry. The fritto misto consisted of tempura battered green beans, coliflower, mozzarella, onions, and two potato croquettes that stood out. The croquettes were good, but quite contrasting to the other lighter items. Eduardo had the traditional pasta carbonara (the best of the trip), completing our quest for the three traditional Roman pastas. I had homemade fetuccine with chicory and porcini mushrooms, which was wonderful. The chicory is a bitter herb, like an arugula, and a great match to the rich pasta. When I say rich pasta, I mean that the fettuccine was prepared with egg – not the sauce. Sauces are minimal in this type of pasta, unlike the prior day’s bucattini and the carbonara.
Since we had done some serious walking that day (and every other after that) and skipped the second course, we dove into a rich chocolate mousse and my only tiramisu in Italy. Both were really good. The meal at Matricianella was the epitome of comfort food – fried appetizers, pasta, and gooey desserts. If only we could eat like that every day without consequence!