Last weekend, I had lunch at one of my go-to-spots, Hostaria da Settimio in Monteverde. I stumbled upon it in November 2009. Honest prices, homey food and a welcoming owner make for a winning recipe. Carla, the mayor of Settimio, bops from table to table reciting the menu, taking orders and chatting with the regulars. Extremely knowledgeable and passionate about cucina romana, she enjoys discussing traditional Roman food. In fact we were waxing poetic about animelle, rigatoni con la pajata and coda alla vaccinara, three of our mutually loved dishes.
We snuck in without a reservation. By 1:30 the dining room was packed. Starters include carciofi alla giudia (deep friend artichoke), suppli and salumi from Norcia. First courses include Roman pastas like cacio e pepe (pasta with grated pecorino romano cheese and black pepper), amatriciana and gricia (tomato-less amatriciana).
We ordered cacio e pepe. There is something magical about this seemingly simple dish. When done well it is velvety, peppery and deliciously sharp. Next, pappardelle al cinghiale (fresh pasta with a tomato-wild boar sauce); originally from Tuscany, it is the odd man out on the Roman pasta menu. The sweet, nutty and intense flavor reminds me of autumn; a comforting and hearty dish.
Second courses include polpette (meatballs), abbacchio (lamb) and saltimbocca alla Romana.
Side dishes include cicoria ripassata (chicory sauteed with olive oil, garlic and spicy red pepper), spinach and grilled seasonal vegetables. When in season, I order a salad of puntarelle (a type of chicory) as a side dish. The bitter green stalks are tossed in a dressing of anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. If you love anchovies like me, you’ll want to mop up every last fishy drop with a hunk of bread.
Desserts include tiramisu, crostata (a tart usually filled with jam) and fresh fruit.
Visit Settimio for Roman pasta specialties, a lively atmosphere and honest prices. Average cost per person including a starter, pasta or main dish, a bottle of water and wine is 20 – 25 euro.Hostaria da Settimio Via di val Tellina, 29 06.58230701 Open Tuesday – Sunday for lunch & dinner