Tripe, trippa in Italian, is the stomach of an animal, in this case beef. It's texture is unique and very different from other offals or meat cuts. Very rubbery and tough when raw, becomes gentle and gelatinous when cooked slowly with a liquid.
This is one of many ways of cooking tripe. Various regions in Italy cook it in slightly different ways, changing the type of tomato product and its quantity, adding more or less liquid, various type of beans, herbs, spices and other ingredients. It is a humble, inexpensive dish and a true delicacy to be enjoyed in the cold months.
2.5 lbs beef tripe
3 garlic cloves chopped
3 Tbs Chopped parsley
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup red wine
1 small can of tomatoes
3 bay leaves
2 small hot chili peppers
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (optional)
- Trim the tripes from any discoloration spot and wash them in cold water. They should be white and extremely fresh. Cut them in short strips about 1/4 inch wide.
- Start a soffritto in a large casserole (ideally crock or cast iron) by heating the oil with the garlic until it starts gently frying and releases its aroma.
- Before the garlic gets any color add the parsley and continue cooking for a minute, then add carrots, celery and onions, a small pinch of salt. Adjust the heat to medium/low so that they gently and slowly fry developing flavor and creating a base for the trippa. This should be monitored from time to time to avoid over-coloring and should take at least 30-40 minutes. The final soffritto should be like a marmalade, sweet and with a golden color from a slow, controlled caramelization.
- While the soffritto is cooking, blanch the tripes in abundant boiling water that has been lightly salted, for about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve.
- Once the soffritto is ready, add the tripes and toss in the pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Then ad the red wine and allow to evaporate by half.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, cloves, chili peppers, black pepper and some salt. bring to a very gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook, extremely slowly, for about 4 hours or until the tripes are very tender and almost gelatinous. Check it and stir every 45-60 minutes. If properly executed, no additional liquid should be necessary.
- Taste and adjust the flavor as the cooking progresses, keeping in mind that flavors will intensify with the cooking. So save the last touch of salt for the very end.
Once cooked you may serve it and enjoy it immediately, but remember that if you allow it to cool and refrigerate for a couple of days, it gets even better. This makes it a great dish to prepare in advance.
Enjoy it very hot, in a bowl accompanied by a slice of plain rustic bread. It is delicious as is or with a touch of freshly cracked black pepper and/or some grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top if you like.