There were many years where I wouldn’t eat Tripe, and I understand that Tripe isn’t loved by everyone. My mother never cooked it and if my father ever wanted Tripe, he would satisfy these cravings by visiting his mother. My Calabrian Nonna knew how to keep her son happy! Beef Tripe is usally made from the muscle wall of only the first three chambers of a cow’s stomach: the first stomach produces the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the second stomach, the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the third stomach, the omasum (book/leaf tripe). I used both the reticulum and the omasum tripe for this recipe. I like the honeycomb look of the reticulum and the omasum tripe is often more tender and delicate when cooked. I often choose Tripe when going out to eat if I want to avoid carbs from pasta. Tripe is a very healthy and low fat option, although just as satisfying as a bowl of pasta in my opinion.
Tripe recipes will vary from region to region in Italy and in Rome, ‘Trippa alla Romana’ is characterised by Pecorino Romano cheese and ‘Mentuccia’. In Rome Nepitella is known as Mentuccia. Although the fragrance is said to be a cross between mint and oregano, some chefs have likened it to a mix of mint and basil instead. Others still say it is a mint with oregano and thyme overtones. If you can’t find Nepitella, you can use Mint although be aware that Mint is stronger than Nepitella.
Trippa alla Romana
*While it is common to buy tripe already cleaned and blanched, if it hasn’t been through this process it will be necessary for you to pre-boil the tripe for about an hour. You will need to add it to a large saucepan with enough water to cover the tripe with 125ml vinegar. Just bring it to the boil and then allow to simmer for an hour.
PLEASE NOTE though that this recipe refers to tripe that has been bought after it has already been cleaned & blanched.
- 900g Tripe
- 2 lemons, cut in quarters
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 cans good quality ‘Polpa di Pomodori’ (I used MUTTI)
- 1 carrot, peeled & cut in half
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 125ml white wine
- 100g Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated + extra for serving
- About 20 Nepitella (mentuccia) leaves, finely chopped
- Put tripe in a large saucepan and cover with water, bting to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain tripe using a colander, and run under cold water until tripe is cool. Place tripe in a bowl with cold water and lemons for 30 minutes.
- Chop red onion and garlic and add to a saucepan with olive oil and allow to cook on a low heat, until onion is translucent. Add white wine and allow to reduce a little.
- Add cans of tomato pulp, carrot & salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook, covered for 30 minutes. Remove carrot. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. (remember not to add too much salt because the Pecorino Romano is very salty).
- Remove tripe from water and slice into bite-sized strips.
- Add tripe to tomatoes and leave to cook, on simmer for 2 hours. After one hour, add half the mint leaves and stir well.
- In a small bowl mix the remaining mint with the grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Once tripe is cooked. Turn off heat, and stir through Pecorino Romano cheese and mint until well combined.
- Serve Tripe with a sprinkling of Pecorino, freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with some extra Nepitella or a little mint leaf. (Serves 6).