Trattoria da Cesare is an unassuming restaurant on a quiet street west of the city center and south of the Vatican. I remember thinking we were lost during most of the trek there, until we finally turned down the small street it’s situated on. Once inside everything seemed to make perfect sense; flavors at da Cesare singing loud and clear, especially in the restaurant’s specialities: pasta carbonara, cacio e pepe, and stewed tripe.
Carbonara and cacio e pepe are two of my absolute favorite pastas, and it’s a happy coincidence that they were born in Rome. They’re also food of the people: prepared without expensive ingredients, made relatively simply, and meant to be eaten immediately. Still, prepared simply doesn’t mean easily. Chef Leonardo Pia has perfected the eggy, porky immediacy of carbonara and raised it to an art form. I’m joined in this episode by Rome-based food writer, Katie Parla.