Coda alla vaccinara remains one of the more traditional meat
dishes of Rome today - alongside abbacchio al forno (roast suckling
1.2 kglarge oxtail pieces2 tbspolive oil30 gmpork back-fat, finely chopped2onions, finely chopped2celery stalks, finely chopped1carrot, finely chopped4garlic cloves, finely chopped200 mldry white wine800 mlveal stock400 mltomato passata½celeriac (about 400gm), cut into 1cm pieces4rosemary sprigs2fresh bay leaves1 tspred wine vinegarPinch ofcaster sugarTo serve:crusty bread and a simple leaf saladGremolata½ cupfinely chopped flat-leaf parsleyFinely grated rindof ½ lemon½garlic clove, finely chopped
Combine oxtail in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover, bring to the simmer over medium heat and cook to remove some of the fat (45 minutes). Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180C. Heat oil in a wide saucepan over high heat, add back-fat and stir occasionally to render (2-4 minutes), remove fat pieces with a slotted spoon (discard), then add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and stir occasionally until golden (10-12 minutes). Deglaze pan with white wine and cook until reduced by half (2-4 minutes). Add oxtail, stock, passata, celeriac, herbs, vinegar and sugar, season to taste, bring to the simmer over low heat, cover closely with a round of baking paper and roast until meat is falling from the bone (1½-2 hours). Remove oxtail and vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep warm, then simmer sauce over medium heat until slightly reduced and flavourful (15-30 minutes).
Meanwhile, for gremolata, combine ingredients and set aside.
Return oxtail and vegetables to the pan and serve warm with gremolata, crusty bread and a leaf salad.