In some countries, the offal is discarded as it is considered a poor person’s food and not worthy of presenting as a meal. In Italy, on the other hand, offal is an important ingredient in many of its traditional dishes. While some are delicious, there are others that are a more acquired taste. Here are some Italian dishes made with offal.
Venetian Liver and Onions
Liver is the most commonly eaten offal in Italy and liver and onions is a traditional dish that derives from Venice. The liver and onions are usually lightly fried and served simply as a dish on its own. However, there are some variations with added herbs served with a sauce.
This is a sauce that is made by cooking the intestines of a young animal after it has drunk its mother’s milk. The contents of the intestines then become like a soft cheese and are used as a sauce for topping pasta or meat.
The spleen is a cherished ingredient in Sicily. There, it is fried and served in a sandwich with two varieties of cheese added. In Sicily, the dish is called pani ca meusa, while in America it is known as vastedda.
The Italians are also fond of cooking with tripe. This is the stomach lining of an animal and the Italians particularly enjoy eating the tripe of cows. There are two traditional dishes that use tripe as the central ingredient. A dish from Rome involves cooking the tripe in mint. The version from Florence is cooked tripe with cheese and tomatoes.
This is a traditional Roman dish that is made with the offal of either lamb or kid. The heart, lungs, and esophagus are sautéed with artichokes and herbs.
Roasted meats are popular in Italy as the Italians enjoy the simplicity of their meat cooked in this way. While it is usually large joints of meat that are cooked or even a whole animal, the offal is not exempt from roasting. Testeralla is the head of a lamb or kid roasted whole with all parts intact, including the brain, the eyes, and the tongue.
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