One-Pot Wonders

Pasquino's Trippa alla Romana

January 18, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A word about Uncle Pasquino. He’s a ranter. You can see his broadsides all over Rome. Especially in Piazza Bramante, but also in via Babuino. He’s 100% Romanaccio. A bit scary. What Pasquino loves about this trippa is that it brings together all of the favorite flavors of Roman cooking: offal being the quinto quarto (the fifth quarter), lots of celery, a bit of pepperoncino, and a bit of mint combined with grated cheese at the end. What we miss is the Roman nepitella, a mint which is closest to pennyroyal if you can grow that yourself. But substitute whatever mint you might have at hand. But by the way, Evan Kleiman, the Alice Waters of Los Angeles has been persuading the folks at Coleman Family Farms to produce things like nepitella for her restaurants and the public at large. There is a God.
This dish is straight out of the Testaccio district of Rome, slightly off the tourist border, it really is Rome’s kitchen. I mean it. This is the old slaughterhouse district where workers might have been paid in part with the quinto quarto.
You must begin with good honeycomb tripe, the honeycomb is the second stomach of your favorite ruminant. - pierino

Test Kitchen Notes

Don't be afraid -- there's nothing to cooking tripe. You just slice it up and simmer it in salted water until it's tender. Most of your time here is spent preparing a sauce for the tripe. You soften red onion, garlic, red pepper flakes celery and celery leaves. And to this you add some wine and marinara sauce (pierino included a friendly shortcut -- storebought marinara sauce. We used Rao's.) And then you're home free. You add the tripe, let it simmer for a bit to meld the flavors, and then spoon it into bowls, with pinches of parmesan, pecorino and mint dropped on top of each serving. The only caveat -- simmering tripe is one of the most pungent smells. Crack a window, or two or three. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound honeycomb tripe, rinsed and sliced into 3” x ½ “strips (you can use flat tripe, but it won’t be as good, remember you have four stomachs to work with).
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced thin
  • All of the best green leaves you've saved from the celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and “hammered” (you are allowed to use a real hammer for this but keep in mind that you are not driving nails)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1-2 cups cups tomato sauce, preferably homemade but we will give you the hall pass if you use a good sauce from a jar such as Rustichella D’Abruzzo, but we trust you to make your own tomato sauce
  • 1-2 dried red peppers, or use hot red chili flakes (the use of chipotle pepper in this dish will consign you to an airlocked Vatican anteroom with Papa Ratzinger FOREVER. And after FOREVER you get Bobby Flay)
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  1. Place the tripe strips in a deep pan and cover them with water. Bring to a simmer with some coarse salt and hold it there, covered, for 1 to 2 hours. Check for tenderness, but also check periodically if more H2O is needed.
  2. Meanwhile sauté the onion, garlic and hot pepper in olive oil, just to color slightly. Add the celery and cook together for maybe 5 minutes more then hold off of heat.
  3. When the tripe is tender add it to the pan with the other ingredients, stir and heat to medium high. Add the wine and reduce.
  4. Add the tomato sauce to the trippa, return to simmer, cover for about ½ hour more. Taste for salt.
  5. Combine your grated cheeses in a bowl with your chopped mint.
  6. If the tripe is tender to your taste and the sauce is well flavored, plate it up, with a generous spoon load of cheese and mint to top it.
  7. A note on celery leaves. The average supermarket variety tends not yield much in the way of leaves. This is a shame because they are packed with celery flavor. You can buy better celery at a farmer’s market for half the supermarket price. Celery should be dark green and bursting with chlorophyll. If you respect its flavor you will be rewarded. As a contorno serve some nice dark greens cooked as you like them. Oh, Oh, Oh if only I could get real puntarelle here to be served up with some anchovy dressing. Oh, my God.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

34 Reviews

Hoovercabrera January 28, 2023
Gonna make this very soon. In Peru we have a dish called mondonguito a la italiana. Apparently Italians brought tripa allá romana to Peru and Peruvians omitted the tomato’s and added other native ingredients but they still add pecorino!. It’s my favorite dish so I am dying to try this one as well.
Roc C. May 6, 2016
Sorry that I just ran across this recipe and thread. Growing up in San Diego, my Roman mother
faithfully made us trippa alla Romana at least once per month. My brothers and I couldn't get enough
of it, and still dream of it fondly. And indeed one of the most memorable flavors in the dish
was the "Roman mint" (nepitella). My mother had brought a cutting home from Rome and
grew it in our backyard. In her memory, I keep a number of plants growing in my backyard,
and love to use it my cooking. In addition to being wonderful in the trippa, it is also wonderful
with artichokes.
pierino May 7, 2016
The closest herb to nepitella is penny royal. With the note that pregnant women probably should avoid it as it can be a natural abortificant.
Julia P. November 22, 2015
Hello! My name is Julia Paige and I am a student at the University of Michigan. I am currently in the process of writing an article about eating offal for a journalism class. I am commenting to see if anyone who willing/able to speak with me about the topic. If you would be, please comment back!
pierino November 22, 2015
Julia, I wrote the article. The "quinto quarto" is one of my favorite topics. Feel free to message me here.
Fran E. December 13, 2011
My mother made tripe often, unfortunately, I never watched her clean it. Now I have the problem of not being able to clean those pesky short hairs that are in between the layers. Knowing my mother and how she cleaned food, I sincerely doubt she just ignored them! Could you please give me detailed instructions on the proper way to clean tripe in preparation for cooking?
pierino December 13, 2011
Honestly I've never encountered this problem. I purchase my tripe from real butchers and expect it to be thoroughly clean. The stomach you want is the second one (ruminants have four) and that one is the honeycomb. You ought to give it a thorough rinse but I wouldn't expect to find hairs in there. You can find tripe in Argentine as well as Asian markets---people who like the nasty bits.
Coincidentally I was at Prune in NYC just a week ago and had a delicious trippa Milanese not dissimilar from the one I cook with Roman flavors. Good luck.
pierino December 13, 2011
Honestly I've never encountered this problem. I purchase my tripe from real butchers and expect it to be thoroughly clean. The stomach you want is the second one (ruminants have four) and that one is the honeycomb. You ought to give it a thorough rinse but I wouldn't expect to find hairs in there. You can find tripe in Argentine as well as Asian markets---people who like the nasty bits.
Coincidentally I was at Prune in NYC just a week ago and had a delicious trippa Milanese not dissimilar from the one I cook with Roman flavors. Good luck.
Thi November 19, 2011
I don't usually care for tripe, but the picture looks so good that prompt me to make it. Very good!!!
Thi November 19, 2011
I don't usually care for tripe, but the picture looks so good that prompt me to make it. Very good!!!
innoabrd May 14, 2011
man, I love tripe! My wife doesn't, so will have to wait until she's out of town and make this for myself and our daughter.
Kiss M. March 27, 2011
I love tripe! Haven't made it in years. I love the addition of fresh mint added to this dish. Can't wait to try it. My Aunt Anna used to serve it with tiny veal and parsley meatballs. I could eat the whole pot!
pierino March 27, 2011
Mint, celery...very Roman flavors.
Yve August 19, 2010
I want to try this but it just brings me back to my childhood watching my mom wash tripe with lemons and salt and then the cooking oh the cooking. I don't think I can subject my house to the smell of cooking tripe. Now if I could find freshly washed and precooked tripe maybe I could do this. Either way it looks fabulous and congratulations on being selected.
pierino August 19, 2010
Thanks. But you know I've never encountered the smell problem. I've been buying honeycomb tripe at either an Argentine or Chinese market. It's always been thoroughly washed before purchase. Believe smell is my most accute kitchen sense. You want the tripe to simmer not boil away.
marilyn F. November 13, 2021
tripe nowadays and for many yeaRS IS ALWAYS Washed and perfectly clean of anything bad. It is better the longer it cooks. I cook my tripe with large white beans, plus everything in this recipe. Every southAmerican country has a tripe dish, each differing a little. You can also put potatoes in it. good either way.
Maria T. February 3, 2010
Congratulations for being picked! The recipe is absolutely brilliant but I understand why you didn't win first prize - people dislike tripes and even cooking them. On Saturday I had Trippa alla fiorentina which was delicious, but then we live in a country where this is so much more common as a food. Keep posting your fabulous stories and recipes.
monkeymom February 1, 2010
Thanks so much for this recipe. I grew up eating tripe and love it.
Janneke V. January 31, 2010
I guess I'll just have to try it and taste for myself, I don't like to cancel something before trying it. Ah and pierino, congratulations with your spot in the finals.
pierino January 31, 2010
E grazie Lei.
Kayb January 30, 2010
I ought to try it. I really ought to. But I just can't get past the similarity to chitterlings.
pierino January 31, 2010
Chitterlings are good for you! It seems to me that many Americans resist organ meats only because they are organ meats. This is a shame. There are few forms of animal protein that taste better than sweetbreads. Okay, it's a thymus gland. Big deal. Conceptually, grinding up pig parts and stuffing them inside the pig's own intestine doesn't seem to trouble us. Carry it one step further; when a pig is slaughtered in Europe and South America the blood is carefully collected and turned into "boudin noir" or "morcilla" etc. That would be blood sausage. And it's pretty damn good.
coffeefoodwrite January 29, 2010
Well, apparently I am Sugartoast today. This recipe for tripe looks really delicious. I, too find the flavor and texture very enticing. Thank you for a great recipe!
mrslarkin January 29, 2010
yes, the new "comments" feature is wacky. So right now I seem to be pierino. Can't be all that bad, right?

I'm afraid of tripe too, which is unusual because #1, I am Italian, and #2, my motherinlaw is Chinese, so i've eaten my fair share of very weird things along the way. I may have to take one for the food52 team and make this beautiful dish.
Janneke V. January 29, 2010
I'm a bit afraid of it, what does tripe taste like? And maybe more important, how is the texture and 'het mondgevoel' the feeling of the tripe in your mouth?
pierino January 29, 2010
Tripe tastes like tripe, "the other white meat". Seriously though, tripe has a mild meaty flavor (it is a cow part). Undercooking it will leave it tough and chewy, but with a long simmer it's quite tender and the texture is interesting. It does engage the tongue in a pleasurable way.
coffeefoodwrite January 28, 2010
This tripe looks really good. I'm looking forward to trying it....
pierino January 28, 2010
Well first, I'm flattered to be a finalist in such esteemed company. I'm especially glad to be in the "nose to tail" bracket because I really believe that if we're not vegans (I'm not) we should use every part of the animal. And it can be so tasty, but you don't have to go all Andrew Zimmern.

With regard to tripe I've never had a problem with kitchen odor during the simmer stage, but I buy it well cleaned from either Chinese or Argentine markets. Maybe that makes a difference. But perhaps it's the "cilantro syndrome"; some people detect things that I don't, and I have a keen sense of kitchen smells.

I commented when this contest was introduced that in the 1961 edition of The New York Times cookbook there were eight recipes for tripe. At the moment only one. But the pendulum is swinging back. Restaurant chefs are embracing the "nasty bits" with sticky love in NYC, Chicago and LA. And it makes a good "Recessionist" theme as well. Venture out my friends, and consume these parts.
pierino January 28, 2010
Pierino, here. Something is telling me I'm logged in as "mrslarkin". Ah the beauty of the internet.
lastnightsdinner January 28, 2010
LND here, and I'm having that same issue - but I wanted to say CONGRATS!
dymnyno January 28, 2010
Your recipe sounds delicious. My favorite grocery has a big pot of menudo every Sunday (isn't it suppose to be good for hangovers?) I love just about every kind of food but can't get past the smell of menudo. Would it work to buy to menudo and try your sauce with it?
pierino January 28, 2010
Well yes, according to conventional wisdom menudo is a traditional hangover cure. Romans on the other hand don't drink heavily so they are coming at it from a different direction---as Roman soul food. It's pretty easy to find spanking clean honeycomb tripe and the stink is just something I've never encountered when properly made. I get more odor from simmering tongue than from tripe. But the aromatic elements of the sauce make up for any residual odorousity.
But if you are arsking if you can combine menudo and this sauce, don't do that. Buy the clean and pure tripe by its ownself. It's cheap.