I used to eat at Lo Scoppetaro once a week when I first moved to Rome back in 2003. That and Dar Moschino were two of my favorite spots. For one reason or another, I stopped going to both, but they continued to linger in the back of my mind. They each contributed in their own way to shaping my understanding of the cucina romana.

On Friday I returned to Lo Scopettaro for lunch. I went less for nostalgic reasons than that I knew it would be the only place in Testaccio that dared to offer outdoor seating. (In spite of sunshine and 68F temperatures, it is still too cold for al fresco dining by Roman standards.) The inside dining room is small, so the extra few tables on the sidewalk are for diners willing to risk a colpo in exchange for good food.

I was in the mood for something simple and filling, so I chose rigatoni alla pajata. Mamma Parla ordered tonarelli cacio e pepe. Both of these classic Roman pasta dishes were great and the contorni, carciofi alla romana were among the best I have had all season. Sadly, the last slice of tiramisu’ (which I remember as being insanely good) was sold just before we ordered dessert. Luckily, we were armed with two slices of pastiera napoletana from Volpetti. Let the record show that Parlas never travel without dessert back-up.