In the same family of simple, big-flavored Roman pasta dishes, and perhaps the city's most famous, is spaghetti alla carbonara. Most carbonaras are just pasta, cheese, cured pork, and eggs, but the version at Roscioli, an eight-year-old wine bar and restaurant off the Campo dei Fiori (and a sister establishment of the legendary Antico Forno Roscioli, where you'll find the most exquisite pizza bianca in Rome), represents an evolutionary leap, at a run. In all of Italy there might not be a dish more obsessively sourced: from the slightly gamy
guanciale del Conero (from a nearby town that's known for its version of those cured pork jowls) that's cut into thick squares and seared without oil, to the duo of local Pecorino cheeses (Romano and Moliterno), to the perfectly textured durum wheat spaghettoni from a tiny producer in the nearby Abruzzo region. Most crucially, the eggs come from Paolo Parisi. This perfectionist Tuscan farmer feeds goats' milk to his hens to achieve a lean, compact yolk, one that conveys a surprising suggestion of almonds. The final touch—three different kinds of black pepper, from Jamaica, China, and India—cunningly renovates this cucina povera staple. "A great carbonara is all in the balance of flavors," the chef, a Tunisian-born Roman named Nabil Hassen, tells me. "No single ingredient should stand out." Eating his carbonara is like discovering the dish for the very first time: the guanciale pops in your mouth, the eggs create a silky sauce, and the peppers add a faintly exotic, lingering kick.