The use of tripe (in fact cow’s stomach) is quite common in several countries, including Brazil and Italy. I’ve already posted a few lines on “Mocotó“, a Brazilian dish containing tripe as one of its main ingredients. Travelling around Tuscany, but specially in Florence, you will certainly find tripes in the menu of the most typical and popular restaurants. If you happen to be around that wonderful city, cross the “Ponte Vecchio” (Old Bridge) and go south in the direction of the Pitti Palace. On Via Michelozzi 9r, between Via Maggio and Piazza Santo Spirito, you’ll find the “Trattoria Casalinga”, home of Florentine cooking as it should be, with over 400 years of tradition.
I recommend you try “Trippa alla Fiorentina”, a simple but very tasteful dish. Tripes are very well cleaned (blanched and boiled) and cut into finger-length strips. Garlic is fried in olive oil with a mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery). Tripe is then added and stirred frequently for 15-20 min. Then it’s time to add some peeled tomatoes (the recipe calls for around 500 g for 1,0 kg of tripe, but I suspect that at Casalinga they put a bit less) and let the mixture boil over low to moderate heat for about one hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. It has to bee stirred now and then and it should not be let to dry. I had mine with a nice Italian bread.
My great grandmother was Italian, and thus “trippa”, from a recipe that passed on to my grandmother, and then to my mother, was a common dish at our home. No need to say the meal we had at Casalinga tasted just like home.