Anyone who came across my first “stomach meets stomach” article knows that my time in Florence turned me into a die-hard consumer of Lampredotto, the locally-famous cow stomach concoction served at numerous street carts across the city. It’s one of the relatively few Tuscan specialties that has yet to migrate outside of it’s place of origin.
Although it is a beloved dish by many, quite a few individuals experience a triggered gag reflex when faced with the idea of eating organs. Even some locals are intimidated by the dish.
Lampredotto is typically served in the simplest of manners. The shredded stomach is either piled on a plate with a bit of the braising liquid, or it’s heaped onto a crusty roll. A splash of spicy red sauce and herbal green sauce are the only other accompaniments. Therefore, the meat, in all it’s funky organ glory, is on full display.
Intrigued by the idea of this Florentine tradition, but too squeamish to chow on a stomach sandwich? Then a visit to Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino (quite the mouthful, I know) may be in order.
This no-frills Osteria in the center of the undeniably charming Piazza della Passera in the Oltarno neighborhood of Florence (AKA the other side of the Arno river) specializes in the parts of the animal that are typically discarded. We’re talking tripe, tongue, and you guessed it, lampredotto.
Sure, you can order traditional “lampredotto bollito” (boiled stomach on a plate), but there are other avenues to traverse for anyone willing to sacrifice tradition for originality.
For an antipasto like no other, try the lampredotto meatballs. Although more of a croquette than a meatball, these little spheres of meat are made of ground lampredotto and vegetables. They’re fried until gloriously golden brown, resulting in a delightfully crisp exterior and tender, meaty interior. They’re well-seasoned and flavorful, so much so that no sauce is provided (or needed).
Ready for more? The Ravioli di Lampredotto con Cipolla di Tropea is undoubtedly the most unique primi (pasta/starch) on the menu
These plump, generously filled pockets of pasta are stuffed with a ground lampredotto filling. The true sorcery of the dish, however, lies in the sauce. The not-so-secret ingredient is onions from Tropea, a small town on the coast of Calabria in Southern Italy. This picturesque town (population: ~6,000) is home to a highly prized variety of red onion cherished for it’s sweetness. These bright purple bulbs were brought to the area by the Greeks, but their cultivation was perfected by the Arabs. Today they’re grown by hand on clay cliffs.
These irresistibly sweet onions form the base of the thick, wine-boosted sauce that adorns those lovely ravioli. Pleasantly sweet, but not overwhelming, it serves as the perfect pairing to the savory, aromatic lampredotto. The sweet and savory flavor profile of the dish resembles traditional American Meatloaf with ketchup, except with considerably more depth and complexity.
The menu at Tripperia Il Magazzino offers far more than just stomach. Additional curiosities include an eye-popping plate of sushi made with tripe instead of raw fish, a carpaccio of thinly-sliced tongue and Trippa alla Fiorentina. Non-offal options such as rabbit cacciatore, a grilled veal chop and eggplant parmesan are also available.
The cozy atmosphere, unique menu and low prices (almost every dish comes in at under 15 euros) culminate to create a meal that will be difficult to forget in the best possible way. Osteria Tripperia Il Maggazzino can be found at Piazza della Passera 2 and is open from 12:30-3 and 7:30-11 every day of the week.
Originally published through unconventionaleatsnh.com