Last week I met a girlfriend for lunch. Usually, when I meet someone for lunch, in Rome, pizza is the last thing on my mind. Traditionally pizzerie in Rome were always open only in the evening. Since making pizza involved heating up a wood burning oven, this was something a) you only wanted to do once a day and b) was best kept to the cooler evening hours.
Also, oddly enough, pizza is considered a ‘light’ or simple kind of meal. And up until 20 or 30 years ago, the big meal of the day in Italy was still at lunch time, so dinner was often reserved for something lighter. You know, like pizza.
And before you go telling pizza is not light, here in Italy it actually is. With crusts much thinner and toppings kept to a minium, eating a full plate sized pizza is not the cheese laden affair you’re probably imagining if you are used to pizza in the USA.
But once I shrugged off my Italian prejudices about pizza-at-lunch, I realized that a visit to Pizzeria Emma, to meet my friend, was the perfect excuse to check up on this relatively new opening in Rome. This pizzeria, opened about a year ago and combines the dough knowhow of baker Pierluigi Roscioli and the topping sourcing of his brother at the nearby Salumeria Rocioli with the pizza skills of Francesco Roscino. What results is a high quality pizza, available every day, at lunch and dinner, 7 days a week.
Although there is a lovely outside terrace, we chose the air conditioned interior, a souring space with a massive skylight that floods the room with light. We started out our pizza meal, as all pizza meals start, with fried things. A pair of mozzarella stuffed squash blossoms and a suppli to split. With fritti something that is often hit or miss in most Roman pizzerie, these were made with care, fried in fresh oil, and using top quality mozzarella.
As our main course we split the Margherita e Bufala Cruda: a thin crust topped with pomilia tomatoes and thick slices of raw bufalo milk mozzarella. A scattering of freshly torn basil leaves and a generous swirl of extra virgin olive oil made it one of the best rendtions of a margherita I’d had in a long time.
Since this was a girls lunch, and we were trying to be slightly girly, we decided not to order dessert. But that didn’t stop us from being very thankful for the plate full of cookies that arrived – straight from Roscioli bakery – at our table to accompany our coffees.
With attention to quality of ingredients the pizzas are more expensive than your corner pizzeria. But well worth spending extra few euros . In addition to pizze they also have a great selection of salumi, cheese (including the same burrata di Andria that is served to much acclaim at Roscioli) as well as some pasta and main dishes. Another plus you don’t often find in pizzerie? A good wine list and a very respectable selection of craft beers.
Via Monte della Farina 28
For more information on dining in Rome and Italy download my app, EAT ITALY. EAT ITALY is a free app, and contains guides to Milan, Rome, Florence and Venice (and an ever expanding list of regions and cities) available as in-app purchases for both iPhone and iPad. And if you don’t have an iphone? There’s always my book, Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City