This is a very old posting filched from the Italian version of this website as I sat dreaming this morning af zucchini carbonara made by the wonderful hands of Betto and Mary at this legendary Roman trattoria.
Betto e Mary is housed in a semi-dilapidated ex-farmhouse in the backstreet working class Roman neighbourhood of Casilino, where, frankly, you could feel as if you were in a neo-realist movie by Visconti trudging about trying to find the entrance and/or a parking space.
A few years ago this was all farm land and the surrounding buildings are low lying houses with gardens, strings of washing on the lines and sheds piled high with wood logs.
It’s not the best trattoria in the world, but its exactly everything you want a trattoria to be. Inside it’s loud, warm, buzzing with Italian families and their kids, a roaring open brazier at the back on which are grilling steaks, spatchcock poussins, quails, sausages, and lamb.
Paper tablecloths, pitchers of ruby red insanely heady wine slosh about the room, people mingle, there’s no dressing up and no fussiness. People are here to eat, have a good time, eat, drink and eat some more.
Occasionally a couple of guys will come in off the street and start playing music and Betto or one of his minions will let em go with a plate of something hot and a mug of wine.
You’ll rarely pay more than €15 for a full meal with desert and yes, they make the best damn zucchini carbonara on the planet. Thick, rich golden egg pasta, called “gramiccia” in romano dialect is handmade and simmered in stil runny egg with slightly burnt slivers of zucchini toasted in garlicky olive oil. Add to this the grilled quail or excellent abbacchio with just a drizzle of lemon juice and plate of chill garlic ciccoria and I’m in heaven.
Not to be missed either are “puntarelle” a type of chicory usually cooked in garlic and lemon with anchovies, or the “carciofi alla giudea” a traditional Roman-Jewish recipe of deep fried crispy baby artichokes. Delicious!