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
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).
red onion, chopped
ribs celery, sliced thin
All of the best green leaves you've saved from the celery, chopped
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)
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
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)
pecorino romano cheese
finely chopped fresh mint leaves
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
Add the tomato sauce to the trippa, return to simmer, cover for about ½ hour more. Taste for salt.
Combine your grated cheeses in a bowl with your chopped mint.
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.
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.
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.