5 Best New Foods I’ve Tried in Italy

Najifa Hussain, ’25, is a Management Information Systems major studying at the American University of Rome this Fall 2022.

One of the best parts about studying abroad, is obviously as you can tell by the title, food! Studying in Rome, has given me the chance to try endless amounts of traditional Roman dishes that are usually pasta and pizza.

The first food I will be starting off with is a typical, popular Roman pasta known as Cacio e Pepe. This pasta literally translates in English to say “cheese and pepper,” and is a dish that you will find at any and all Italian restaurants here in the city of Rome. The dish generally contains grated Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. The most popular type of pasta that it is usually served with is spaghetti or tonnarelli, but I personally like mine with fettuccine, I even had the chance to make this dish at a pasta making class and it was an unforgettable experience.

Another type of pasta that I have tried for the first time after having come to Rome, is known as Pasta alla Norma. This dish was a little outside of my comfort zone when I first read what it was but since I was pushing myself to try something new one day, I ended up ordering the Pasta alla Norma and loving it. This pasta is with tomato sauce and aubergine cream which is a type of eggplant. It tastes very similar to just a normal tomato sauce spaghetti, but the cream adds an extra kick that tastes phenomenal.

Another favorite of mine that I tried for the first time while abroad, was pasta with zucchini and shrimp. I tried this dish in the region of Cinque Terre that I have visited for a weekend and since the region is best known for their seafood, I decided to try this dish. It was a simple and extremely tasty dish that I still think about to this day. It is known as a very popular Italian seafood dish in cities closer to Italy’s coast.

Moving onto a dish that isn’t pasta, another great favorite meal of mine abroad has been a specific Italian sandwich that I always get from a shop in the city center of Rome that is extremely popular with both tourists and locals. This place is called All” Antico Vinaio and they have the best filled flatbread pizza sandwiches with delicious and fresh ingredients that I have ever tried. My go to sandwich consists of pecorino cream, cream of truffle, spicy eggplant, and tomato.

And lastly moving onto my favorite dessert (other than Tiramisu which I will say there is no other tiramisu like Italian tiramisu) is Panna Cotta. This is a popular Italian dessert consisting of sweetened cream that is thickened with gelatin and molded. The cream in the dessert can have various flavors such as coffee, vanilla, etc. However, my favorite go to is the Strawberry Panna Cotta.

To end off this blog, I just want to say that my stomach has truly enjoyed this experience and being able to try new, traditional foods during my time here.

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