Although not for the faint-hearted, coratella (lamb interiors) is a much-revered recipe in Rome’s offal-based 'quinto quarto' cuisine, especially at Easter.
Together with salami, eggs and pizza al formaggio (cheese bread), coratella is traditionally served on Easter Sunday morning as part of the annual colazione pasquale, the one day of the year that Romans will indulge in an abundant, savoury breakfast.
A ‘set’ of coratella, that is lungs, heart and liver, can be easily found at butcher’s shops and one of the best ways to prepare it is with seasonal roman artichokes which contrast well with the iron-rich flavours of offal. The result is tasty springtime stew usually served with bread or on top of crostini to soak up the juices.
2 sets of lamb coratella (lungs, heart and liver)
3 romaneschi artichokes
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
125ml dry white wine
Fill a large bowl with cold water, squeeze in the juice of one lemon and then add the lemon skins too, Prepare the artichokes by removing the hard outer leaves, then trimming the stalk and peeling off the outer layer of the stem with a sharp knife.
Cut off the top quarter of the head then slice down the middle and remove any hairy choke that may be inside.
Chop each half of artichoke lengthways into four chunks and immediately put all of the pieces the lemon water to prevent them from turning black.
Next, rinse the coratella and trim any excess fat from the heart. Separate the different organs and cut the lungs and liver into 1-2cm pieces, chop the heart a little smaller.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the sliced onions and the whole garlic cloves. Cook gently for 5-6 minutes until the onion starts to turn golden.
Add the lungs to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until it stops ‘whistling’ then pour in the wine and cook for a minute before adding the heart and artichokes. Season with salt and pepper
and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on.
Finally, add the liver, mix everything together well, then cover and cook for another 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Kate Zagorski
Kate Zagorski has lived in Italy since 2000. Married to a food-obsessed Roman chef, she leads food tours and also works as a freelance food and travel writer. For more of her recipes see Wanted in Rome recipe page.
Photo La Repubblica