Corso Trieste, 146/B
00198 Rome, Italy
Tel. +39 06 841 2128
BY IAN D'AGATA | JULY 6, 2018
Steamed octopus salad (Insalata di moscardini, sedano, carota, datterini e fagioli zolfini)
Salt cod croquettes, field green salad and aioli sauce (Crocchette di baccalà, misticanza fiorita di campo e maionese aioli)
Roman-style free-range chicken in pieces cooked in an earthenware pot with red and yellow sweet bell peppers (Spezzato di pollo ruspante alla romana con peperoni)
Grilled baby lamb ribs with vegetables (Costolette di abbacchio alla griglia con verdure)
2016 Cincinnato Bellone Castore Lazio Bianco
2016 Casale della Ioria Passerina del Frusinate Colle Bianco
2009 Ettore Germano Barolo
Steamed octopus salad
When next in Rome, why not eat like Romans really do? That means not going only to places like Roscioli, La Pergola, and Armando al Pantheon, all of which are in the little black books of world foodies everywhere, but to other places that aren’t routinely written about on internet sites. One such spot is the Osteria dell’Ingegno on Corso Trieste. A second location with the same name is situated in Rome’s historic city center, in the very pretty Piazza di Pietra. The Corso Trieste branch is a very comfortable neighborhood eatery where locals have been dining happily for years. Even better, they manage to do so in relatively quiet surroundings, where the other customers are mostly middle aged, well-heeled or younger couples, the former who know enough about life to speak softly in public places, and the latter too busy looking into each other’s eyes to make much noise. And so, a meal at Osteria dell’Ingegno glides quietly and effortlessly by, in the company of very good food and wines.
Salt cod croquettes, field green salad and aioli sauce
The cucina delivers well-cooked traditional recipes that are revisited for more modern lifestyles, but at Osteria dell’Ingegno the authenticity of the original dish is never sacrificed for the sake of modern flourishes. Some recipes are traditional right to the core: witness the torta rustica di Gaeta, a cake stuffed with escarole, pine nuts, capers, and olives, served on a buffalo mozzarella sauce. Every time I dine here I come away thankful for the precise flavors and well-sourced ingredients, and it was no different on this night. The steamed octopus salad and the salt cod croquettes were a great way to kick off dinner, with the fresh octopus maintaining just the right amount of spring in its texture and the salt cod croquettes very flavorful and smooth. The best dishes of the night were those featuring meat, however: both the Roman-style free-range chicken in pieces cooked in an earthenware pot with red and yellow sweet bell peppers and the grilled baby lamb ribs with vegetables featured very intense aromas and flavors, with the chicken and the lamb meat moist and perfectly cooked.
Roman-style free-range chicken in pieces cooked in an earthenware pot with red and yellow sweet bell peppers
The wine list at Osteria dell’Ingegno boasts over 200 different labels. Many of these are by some of the best producers in their respective categories. I decided to go mostly with Lazio wines this time out, but a slightly older Barolo offered at an especially inviting price proved hard to refuse.
Grilled baby lamb ribs with vegetables
The 2016 Bellone Cincinnato Castore is a marvelous accompaniment to any meal, its fresh, penetrating tropical fruit and sweet spice flavors lifted by harmonious acidity. This wine makes not just an excellent aperitif, but also has enough body to also double as a wonderful companion to the whole meal. Furthermore, it also showcases to full effect the high quality of the Bellone variety. The 2016 Passerina Casale della Ioria Colle Bianco is deep and complex, made in a slightly macerated style nowadays that I find less appealing than some past vintage. Last but not least, the 2009 Ettore Germano Barolo is a pretty wine redolent of tobacco, menthol, and red fruit notes that is drinking beautifully now. Less concentrated and precise than the 2009 Lazzarito or Cerretta by Germano, this entry-level Barolo offers a lot of wine for the money. It is also much higher in acidity and less jammy than I might have expected from the vintage, but then again, this wine from talented Sergio Germano started out life much the same way and has maintained its cooler climate-like personality to this day.
As far as neighborhood eateries go, I’d say Osteria dell’Ingegno is one of the best in Rome, sticking to what it does best, without trying to impress with needless strange ingredients or cooking techniques. Sometimes, less really is more.