Pasta alla zozzona: the traditional “dirty” dish in Rome

Pasta alla zozzona is a typical dish of the Roman tradition. In fact, it combines three great classics of the Roman cuisine: carbonara, amatriciana and cacio e pepe. It is a rich dish composed by simple but substantial ingredients in a triumph of flavors. It is less known than other traditional dishes, you need to discover it. So let’s see a bit of history.

A bit of history

The word zozzona derives from the Roman word “zozzo”, which has multiple meanings. In fact, in Rome, in addition to meaning dirty, it indicates something particularly rich, caloric, substantial. In Romanaccio, the Roman dialect, this kind of food takes the name of zozzeria. Hence the name of the pasta alla zozzona dish to indicate a particularly substantial dish, rich in ingredients and flavors. This dish represents the perfect combination of pleasure and transgression. Not surprisingly, it contains all the ingredients of carbonara, amatriciana and cacio e pepe. We could describe it as a dish that combines the best of the three most famous dishes of the Roman cuisine.

The ingredients of the pasta alla zozzona

As we have already said, the term “zozzona” derives from a mix of very tasty aromas typical of the Lazio tradition. The ingredients are simple, just to use the ingredients forgotten in the fridge or pantry. It is the Italian custom to obtain tasty dishes from what remains or is about to expire, from a conservative idea. The same goes for the poor dishes of Italian cuisine, such as panzanella or pasta alla checca. The ingredients are simple, although everyone makes its part to make the dish delicious. There are those who put the bacon, some the sausage, those who put both, those who add an egg at the end of cooking and those who use only the cherry tomatoes and not the tomato sauce. But everyone agrees on one thing: the right pasta shape is rigatoni. In fact, this pasta is perfect with the sauce of pasta alla zozzona.

The method

Here we propose the procedure of a version of this dish. The directives are very simple. The sauce is prepared by browning the bacon and sausage with the fried onion, then adding the tomato sauce, as for the amatriciana. While the pasta is creaming (rigatoni al dente), a cream of egg yolks is added, beaten with grated pecorino romano, as for carbonara. This last operation must absolutely be carried out with the heat off to avoid the omelette effect. It ends with pecorino and ground pepper, as for the cacio e pepe.

Do you want to try the pasta alla zozzona? After all, it contains all the tastes of traditional Roman cuisine in a single dish.

Credit: photo by Pasta alla zozzona. A Roma il primo pasticcione si fa così

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