serves: 6 servings
Texture is a very important part of the gustatory pleasures of tripe. Tripe should be soft and yet resilient; you do not want it mushy. In this recipe, as I do when making many long simmered sauces, I keep a pot of hot water near the tripe as it simmers. From time to time, I check the tripe, ladling in water if the sauce has cooked down and some of the tripe isn't covered. At the end of cooking, there should be enough sauce so the tripe is nice and juicy, but not watery.
2 pounds honeycomb veal tripe
8 bay leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery , trimmed and chopped, with leaves (about 1 cup)
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups fresh plum tomatoes , peeled, seeded, and crushed
2 cups hot water, or as needed
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
Trim any pieces of solid fat from the tripe and wash the tripe thoroughly under cold running water. Put it in a large pot and pour in enough cold water to cover by four to six fingers. Toss in 4 of the bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat to a gentle boil and cook just until tender when poked with a fork. Don't overcook it to the point where it falls apart when poked.
Pick out the bay leaves, drain the tripe and cool to room temperature.
When the tripe is cool, cut it into large pieces, removing all remaining pieces of fat that you uncover as you cut. (The most important part in the preparation of tripe is to remove all the fat.) Scrape both sides of the tripe with the back of a chef's knife to remove as many flecks of fat as you can. Clean all working surfaces of fat and cut the tripe into strips about 1/2-inch wide and 2 inches long.
Heat the olive oil in a wide casserole over medium heat. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots and celery, season them lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 4 bay leaves and the tripe and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the juices from the tripe have evaporated and the tripe has begun to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the wine is completely evaporated, about 6 minutes. Season lightly with salt, add the crushed red pepper and pour in the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is simmering. Simmer until the tripe is tender, but still resilient, about 1 hour. Add small amounts of the hot water from time to time as necessary while the tripe simmers to keep the tripe covered with sauce.
Remove the bay leaves and taste, seasoning with salt and crushed red pepper as necessary. Serve the tripe in warm bowls, topping each helping with some of the grated Parmigiano.