Who is Nonna Betta
What does artichokes have to do with falafel? And what about anchovies and endive pie with couscous? And ricotta cake and sour cherries with baklawa? Nothing at all, and this confusion between the Roman-Jewish cuisine and the Middle Eastern cuisine would have made grandma Betta very angry. The Jews have lived in Rome since the second century B.C. and have lived in the ghetto from 1555 to 1870: who else can guarantee such an old tradition that gave us such unique recipes? Only a true Roman-Jewish. Because being just a Jew or a Roman is not enough. Because you have to be a Roman-Jew in order to make the real Roman-Jewish cuisine: it takes love and a deep knowledge of your own origins to convey the authenticity of unique recipes tied to an ancient culture. I’m Umberto, a Roman-Jew, and grandma Betta was my grandmother for real. This is the only guarantee of an authentic Roman-Jewish cuisine kosher style. Gamil, an Egyptian Christian who has been living in Rome for 30 years and I, a Roman-Jew for generations, are partners. He prepares the traditional recipes handed down by my grandmother, and I supervise. We offer the traditional dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients: Jewish style artichokes, chopped fried, cod fillets, pumpkin flowers, agnolotti with stracotto sauce, rigatoni with pajata, Jewish style gricia and amatriciana, meatballs with celery, cod with onion and tomatoes, tagliolini with chicory and bottarga, cheese and pepper with chicory. Nonna Betta restaurant, in a separate menu, offers also Middle Eastern specialties proposed by Gamil: falafel and hummus, couscous with fish, meat and vegetable; tuna meatballs with cumin, tehina and babaganoush. The traditional desserts, bread and pasta are homemade and deserve a special attention. At Nonna Betta it’s very easy to hear the stories of the Ghetto and there is always someone ready to answer curiosities about the Jewish religion and culture or about the history of the Roman Jews. Entering Nonna Betta is like entering the door of a past that no longer exists in the Ghetto: have a seat!