Why It Works
- Tripe is simmered until tender, then braised in a savory tomato sauce with fresh herbs.
- The texture is soft and chewy, and pairs well with toasted bread and wilted greens.
I'd like to put forth the claim that trippa alla romana is really an excuse to enjoy a lot of tomato sauce. We talk about the ability of pasta to cling to a sauce, but pasta pales in comparison to tripe's sponge-like powers.
At restaurants you'll see trippa alla romana (or alla parmigiana, or some other locale), tripe stewed in tomato sauce, topped with a grated hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino. The tomato sauce is tart, more so than what you might taste with pasta, so that biting into each tender sliver of tripe yields a gush of sauce strong enough to undercut the richness of stomach. There's a great synergy that happens between the soft offal and the sauce, so much so that the cheese is an outsider to that dynamic. (So too, are rounds of toasted bread or crackers, and wilted greens, or whatever other additions you can think of that could get along well with the tripe. They are all welcome, but not integral.)
Whenever I stew tripe I stew a lot of it. Some of it goes to making tripe chili. Some of it will be for menudo, the famed Mexican tripe soup. The rest goes for trippa alla romana, which I eat with more frequency than any other iteration of tripe, probably because I love to have it for breakfast.
Tripe simmered in tomato sauce is really not a breakfast food at all, but it certainly feels like one when anointed with a fried or poached egg. I may be in the minority when I place tripe and eggs among the most soothing of breakfast foods. Actually, I happen to think that a bowl of oatmeal has more in common with a bowl of stewed tripe than it does with, say, jam and toast. Both oatmeal and tripe are soft and mushy. Both are really only palatable when hot. Imagine dipping a sliver of tender tripe, bursting with tomato sauce, into that shallow and precious pool of egg yolk. And everything topped with grated cheese. There may be better ways to start a day, but I can't think of one.
2 pounds tripe
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 medium cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater or pressed through a garlic press (about 3 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, and crushed by hand or through a food mill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh mint, basil, or parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 ounces Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
In a large pot, combine tripe and vinegar. Add enough water to cover tripe by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tripe is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add more water as needed to keep tripe submerged. Drain tripe, reserving cooking liquid, and allow to cool. Slice tripe into 1-inch strips.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Add tripe along with about 1/2 cup of the tripe cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until sauce is lightly reduced and flavors marry, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir half of herbs into sauce.
When ready to serve, divide tripe evenly among 4 to 6 warmed bowls and top with grated cheese and remaining herbs.
The difference between honeycomb tripe and rumen tripe is that the latter has a shaggy carpet-like appearance. They're merely different parts of the stomach and both are adept at sopping up sauce.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 17g||21%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||21%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 18mg||91%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|