Thursday, 16 February 2017

When in Rome

It is called the Trattoria al Camoscio D’Abuzzo and is on Via Castelfidardo which is a long narrow street in the San Giovanni neighbourhood of central Rome. We found it quite by chance which in a sense says little for our observational skills. It is directly opposite the hotel we were staying at and after trying a number of expensive, and some indifferent places we ended up here.

It was what I imagined a typical family run restaurant in the centre of Rome would be like. There were just two small rooms with the inner one a few steps higher than the outer. The tables were close together and on the nights we ate there full of locals. Now I know this reads like a tourist book but that was how it was.

It specialized in the food of Abuzzo which is a region on the eastern side of Italy, and it was here that I had first had aglio, olio, and peperoncino, which is pasta with olive oil garlic and chillies. It is one of our favourites and is eaten all over Italy although I have to confess that Rosa’s version is magnificent. Usually served with spaghetti, the sauce is made by lightly cooking crushed garlic with olive oil and chopped fresh chili's. I have written about this wonderfully simple dish to which I often add a slight amount of tomato sauce, which according to Tina and Rosa turns it into something very different.

Rosa is from Naples and from her I learnt that you do not drain the pasta but just scoop it from the pan and drop it on to the oil, garlic and chilies which give a little moisture to the dish.

We have returned to the Trattoria from time to time and were last there while on holiday in Silvi. Now the weather had gone indifferent and we decided to head off across the middle of Italy for a few days in Rome. Our younger two have never been and Saul at least was excited at the prospect of the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus.

What I hadn’t realized was that the two hour coach trip would take us through the region of Abruzzo. I can think of no finer way to see a country than by travelling by coach or train. You get to see things which are lost if you fly. But then I am sounding like the tourist guide again.

Suffice to say on that first day back in Rome we took the boys to the Trattoria and this time sat outside. The meal was a leisurely casual affair and in between courses we watched as the city went about it business.
And despite the fact that we had not been for some years, the food was as good as I remembered it.

Picture; the inside of the Trattoria al Camoscio D’Abuzzo from & the outside from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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