Coda alla vaccinara

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Coda alla vaccinara
A plate of coda alla vaccinara
Alternative namesCoda
Place of originItaly
Region or stateLazio
Serving temperatureWarm
Main ingredientsOxtail, celery, carrot
VariationsRigatoni al sugo di coda

Coda alla vaccinara [ˈkoːda alla vattʃiˈnaːra] is an oxtail stew in modern Roman cuisine[1] including various vegetables, notably celery. The tail is considered offal, nicknamed in Rome the quinto quarto ("fifth fourth").[2]


The oxtail is parboiled and then simmered with large amounts of celery (typically 1.5 kilo of celery for every kilo of tail), carrots, and aromatic herbs. Tomatoes and red wine are added,[1] and then the mixture is cooked further with a soffritto of onions, garlic, prosciutto, pancetta and some other ingredients. During the final phase of cooking, a bouquet garni of bay leaves, celery stalks, and cloves is put in the pot for flavouring. It is cooked until the meat easily separates from the bones. It is seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper and garnished with pine nuts.[3]

Coda is usually prepared to taste sweet-and-sour, usually using raisins, or sometimes candied fruit or a small amount of grated bittersweet chocolate. Coda is generally prepared in advance and reheated. Leftovers can be used as a sauce for rigatoni,[4] which is then named "rigatoni al sugo di coda".[3]


Coda alla vaccinara was originally the specialty of the vaccinari ("butchers") of the Rione Regola in Rome, to the point that the inhabitants of that rione were nicknamed in Romanesco dialect magnacode ("tail-eaters"). It is often found in the trattorie of Testaccio and Trastevere.[5][6]

Popular culture[edit]

Coda is the favourite dish of the protagonist Giacinto Mazzatella (Nino Manfredi) in Down and Dirty. He expresses his appreciation of the dish with the words "Oxtail and celery are like man and woman. It's all well when one sticks to the other."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fodor's (2011). Fodor's Southern Italy. Fodor's Travel Publications. ISBN 978-0307928160.
  2. ^ Massimo Alberini, Giorgio Mistretta, Touring Club Italiano, Guida all'Italia Gastronomica, 1984, p. 287
  3. ^ a b Coda alla Vaccinara (Oxtail Stewed in Tomato Sauce)
  4. ^ Coda alla vaccinara
  5. ^ Guida gastronomica d'Italia-Introduzione alla Guida gastronomica d'Italia (rist. anast. 1931) (in Italian). Touring Editore. 1931. ISBN 978-88-365-2940-7.
  6. ^ 'frasi' [pseudo. of Francesco Simoncini], Ristoranti a Roma, A.B.E.T.E. 1967, p. 73
  7. ^ Coda alla Vaccinara

Further reading[edit]

  • Boni, Ada (1983) [1930]. La Cucina Romana (in Italian). Roma: Newton Compton Editori.