Romans have a tradition of making great food out of the quinto quarto, the fifth fourth, that is, the parts of the animals that weren’t sold for income or were very cheap.
There’s a tradition in Rome of eating tripe on Saturdays. You can see from time to time in the City “SABATO TRIPPA”. Hence, trippa alla romana.
Today I’m enjoying tripe because it’s Saturday, we’ve had a lot to stomach over the last few weeks and, for the libs, there’s an old proverb which basically means, “We’re ___ out of luck!”, that is, “Non c’è trippa per i gatti!… There’s no tripe for the cats!” On that note, I’ll be watching the Senate confirmation vote.
So, cows have various stomachs by which they do their thing. The type I found at the store was the reticolo, so named for its “net” pattern. It’s nicknamed “beretta” like the thing priests wear on their heads and carry at their “4”.
The outside presages the inside.
This was uncooked. In Rome you can buy it pre-cooked, which cuts down the prep time.
I simmered the beretta with onion, carrot, celery, garlic.
When the water got hot, the tripe contracted into something that you could repair tires with.
After several hours, it relaxed again. Here’s the set up. NB: Clement XIV mug, which can be YOURS! CLICK!
Start with pancetta in the pan. Add your chopped onion, celery and carrot. I used some of the simmering water from time to time to start a bit of a sauce that the tripe could suck up.
Time to cut this up.
In they go, in all there reticulated goodness.
Add tomato. I might add a little more later. I plan on giving this a few more hours.
In Rome you can find a couple variants of “Roman style” tripe. There’s the spiffier kind which uses a meat-tomato sauce to cook the tripe and the poorer kind which uses just tomato. The later is sometimes called “trippa alla trasteverina”, the sort made “across the Tiber” from central Roma, once a poorer district and the area where I sort of “grew up” when I moved over there. The streets of trastevere are where I founded my Italian. Also, sometimes in the reports of journalists who cover the Vatican will, in Italian, refer to “oltretevere… beyond or across the Tiber” for the Roman Curia, etc.
That reminds me of the Ode by Horace, which I’ll now share with you.
In Ode 1.20 the poet talks about his countryside ville (his “Sabine Farm”… *sigh*), his wine and a great shout that echoed out over Rome for his patron Maecenas:
Vile potabis modicis Sabinum
cantharis, Graeca quod ego ipse testa
conditum levi, datus in theatro
cum tibi plausus,
care Maecenas eques, ut paterni
fluminis ripae simul et iocosa
redderet laudes tibi Vaticani
Caecubum et prelo domitam Caleno
tu bibes uvam; mea nec Falernae
temperant vites neque Formiani
The parts below in parenthesis I added to make this clearer to those who don’t know much about Horace.
(When you visit me in the country at my farm)
You will quaff from simple drinking cups
the lowly Sabine which I laid down with the
Greek style seal, in the year when the applause
was given to you in the theater,
dear knight Maecenas, so loud that
the Vatican hill together with the banks of
the fatherly river Tiber sent the praises
back to you.
(At home) you will be drinking Caecuban and the grape
crushed in the Calenean press; my vines
and not Falernian or Formian vines will
blend in your cups
(when you visit my Sabine farm house in the country).
A long time ago, one of my Latin profs told me that as I got older I would appreciate Horace more and more.
Speaking of the echoing shout, during John Paul II’s funeral Mass Rome was still and silent. There was virtually no traffic and, therefore, no “white noise” filling the air. When, at the end, the pallbearers turned about with JPII’s coffin for the last time, a huge shout when up into the air. Where I was sitting I could hear it echo out over the City. It was probably the loudest single human sound ever made in the history of the city, given the number of people watching at that moment.
That’s where I am at right now with the tripe. The place is filled with tripy fragrance.
I’ve selected an interesting Sangiovese with a little Cabernet Sauvignon in it, which should give it a bit more earthiness.
Tonight… brocoletti tossed in the pan with oil, garlic and hot pepper. First given them a boiling bath for a few minutes. Then, let them have it!
As I dressed it.
The only thing that made this better, is that I was able to made a little care package for my priest neighbor here at The Cupboard Under The Stair™.
Food like this needs sharing!
Anyway… so much can be done with so little, so long as you are patient and you have a little savvy.
Folks, make big meals now. Invite friends and talk about what’s going on. PRAY when you are together.
Enjoy your Catholic identity together!