Coda alla vaccinara – Roman style oxtail stew

Coda alla vaccinara is a typical roman dish. A slow-cook stew made with beef’s oxtail braised in a tomato sauce and spices. We are sharing today the authentic and traditional roman recipe so you can prepare it at home.

Rabo de vaca a la vaccinara servido directamente en la cazuela.

What is coda alla vaccinara?

Coda alla vaccinara (cow’s tail) is one of the most traditional dishes of the roman cuisine. This dish is prepared using the tail of a bovine and it requires a slow and long cooking, so that the meat is very tender, to the point that it almost falls off the bone on its own.

The origin of this dish is born in the deep heart of Rome where the vaccinari -the bovine butchers- lived. And it was born like other poor dishes: in an attempt to take advantage of the less appreciated parts of the animal to turn them into a tasty and inexpensive dish.

Related Recipe: Stracotto alla romana.

The two versions of the recipe

There are two versions to prepare coda alla vaccinara (cow’s tail). Both of them are recalled authentic and if you go to any roman restaurant you’ll find for sure one of them. Those two version are pretty similar:

The first one is the simplest. The oxtail is cooked in a tomato sauce with the typical Roman seasonings: Soffritto. This seasoning is a staple is the roman cuisine and consists of onion, celery and carrot finely chopped.

In the other version, the oxtail is also cooked with soffritto and tomato sauce but at the end is added a very delicious sauce that is made with pine nuts, raisins and chocolate. It is so delicious! So we’d like to share this recipe version because in our opinion, it is simply the best.

How to serve Coda alla Vaccinara

When in Rome, you’ll notice that Coda alla Vaccinara is served in a very traditional way: the sauce is used to coat pasta, rigatoni is the most used format in this case. Then, the meat is served separately as a main course accompanied by bread to make the classic scarpetta at the end, that is, mop up every last drop of the sauce on the plate with a piece of bread.

Of course, you can serve this amazing dish however you prefer: With pasta or with bread, over a bowl of rice or even with zucchini noddles if you want a low-carb meal.

The ingredients

OXTAIL. In this recipe we used cow oxtail but any tail of cattle can be used to make this recipe.

SOFFRITTO. The classic italian soffritto is always made of finely chopped celery, carrot and onion, sometimes also garlic. You can do it by hand or use a food processor.

TOMATO SAUCE. A simple homemade tomato sauce, below I leave you a quick recipe of how to make it or you can also use a good canned tomato sauce, just make sure it is plain tomato sauce without seasonings.

WHITE WINE. This type of meat has a strong flavor, the wine helps to balance it. If you don’t want or can add wine, you can also replace it with a splash of white vinegar.

LARDO. Lardo is a salumi prepared with pork fat, it is widely used in the italian cuisine. You can replace it with regular lard or just use olive oil if you prefer.

EVO OIL. A good extra virgin olive oil is the key to almost all Italian recipes. If you don’t have it, just replace it with the oil you prefer.

SALT & PEPPER. To season the meat at the beginning. I recommend that you only adjust salt at the end of cooking, about two or three minutes before turning off the heat.

FOR THE CACAO SAUCE. For the savoury sauce you going to need boiled celery, pine nuts, raisins and unsweetened cacao powder.

Easy and quick simple tomato sauce

In a large pot put water up to 2/3 of its capacity. Bring to a boil. Add 1kg of whole tomatoes and boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let the tomatoes rest for 5 minutes in the hot water.

Remove the tomatoes from the water and let them cool lightly. Remove the skin, cut them in half and discard the seeds and stem. Place tomatoes in a blender and blend until you get a smooth sauce without lumps.

Recipe Coda alla Vaccinara

Wash the meat throughly and then pat dry it with kitchen paper towels. Place it in a large braising pan and season with salt and pepper. Add the cloves, lardo and olive oil.

Sauté for 10 minutes or when you’ll see the meat has changed its color. Add the soffritto and garlic, fry for 10-15 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the chopped parsley and the wine, mix and let the alcohol evaporate (about 5 minutes).

Add the tomato sauce and enough hot water to cover the meat by 1cm (0.5″)

Bring to a boil, low the heat and cook covered for 3 hours, paying attention to mixing from time to time and adding more hot water if necessary since the meat should always be covered with the sauce.

When the meat is well cooked, to the point that almost fall off from the bone, adjust salt to taste and turn off the heat. Proceed now with the preparation of the cacao sauce:

Preparación de la salsa para servir la cola de vaca a la vaccinara

In a small sauce pan pour a ladle of the oxtail sauce. Add half a ladle of hot water. Add the celery, pine nuts, raisins and cacao powder. Mix well and let it simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Salsa cocinándose para cola de vaca a la vaccinara

From here, you can proceed either way:
1.- Add the sauce you’ve just made to the oxtail stew and simmer all together for 2 minutes.
2.- Put the cacao sauce in a small bowl, bring it to the table so everyone serves as much as they’d like.

Recipe notes

  • This is a recipe that takes time to make, a classic slow-food dish. It is necessary that the meat is cooked for at least 3 hours at low heat so it will be tender and all its flavor will release.
  • Coda alla Vaccinara can be made in a slow-cooker pot. Just sauté the meat and soffritto before and add less water to the stew since it won’t evaporate as it does in a regular braising pan.
  • Give the stew a spicy touch by adding one or two crushed peperoncini (italian dry hot peppers).
coda alla vaccinara. Step by step recipe.

Coda alla Vaccinara: Roman style oxtail stew.

Coda alla vaccinara is a typical roman dish. A slow-cook stew made with beef’s oxtail braised in a tomato sauce and spices. We are sharing today the authentic and traditional roman recipe so you can prepare it at home.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 3 hours 35 minutes
TOTAL 3 hours 45 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1 kg (2.2lb) oxtail
  • 300 gr (10 oz) soffritto (Celery, onions and carrots finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 800 gr (3 ½ cups) plain tomato sauce
  • 240 ml (1 cup) white wine
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 80 gr (2.8 oz) lardo, or pork lard
  • 30 gr (1 ½ tbsp) extravirgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce

  • 3 celery stalks (cut in half and boiled)
  • 60 gr (½ cup) pine nuts
  • 50 gr (⅓ cup) raisins
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder

Instructions

  • Wash the meat throughly and then pat dry it with kitchen paper towels. Place it in a large braising pan and season with salt and pepper. Add the cloves, lardo and olive oil.
  • Sauté for 10 minutes or when you’ll see the meat has changed its color.
  • Add the soffritto and garlic, fry for 10-15 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the chopped parsley and the wine, mix and let the alcohol evaporate (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the tomato sauce and enough hot water to cover the meat by 1cm (0.5″)
  • Bring to a boil, low the heat and cook covered for 3 hours, paying attention to mixing from time to time and adding more hot water if necessary since the meat should always be covered with the sauce.
  • When the meat is well cooked, to the point that almost fall off from the bone, adjust salt to taste and turn off the heat.

Prepare the cacao sauce

  • In a small sauce pan pour a ladle of the oxtail sauce. Add half a ladle of hot water.
  • Add the celery, pine nuts, raisins and cacao powder. Mix well and let it simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

From here, you can proceed either way:

  • Add the sauce you’ve just made to the oxtail stew and simmer all together for 2 minutes.
  • Put the cacao sauce in a small bowl, bring it to the table so everyone serves as much as they’d like.

NOTES

  • This is a recipe that takes time to make, a classic slow-food dish. It is necessary that the meat is cooked for at least 3 hours at low heat so the meat will be tender and all its flavor will release.
  • Coda alla Vaccinara can be made in a slow-cooker pot. Just sauté the meat and soffritto before and add less water to the stew since it won’t evaporate as it does in a regular braising pan.
  • Give the stew a spicy touch by adding one or two crushed peperoncini (italian dry hot peppers).
Nutrition
Serving: 1grams
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