Coda alla Vaccinara: A Culinary Journey through Time and Flavor

Coda alla Vaccinara: A Culinary Journey through Time and Flavor

Coda alla Vaccinara, a traditional Roman dish, is a testament to the culinary creativity born out of necessity. Rooted in history, this hearty stewed oxtail recipe showcases the ingenuity of the vaccinari, the local slaughterhouse workers of Rome. In this blog post, we will explore the rich history of Coda alla Vaccinara, delve into its popularity, examine its common ingredients, discuss its nutritional value, and provide enticing serving ideas. Prepare to be captivated by the irresistible flavors and time-honored traditions of this iconic Roman dish.

History of Coda alla Vaccinara

Coda alla Vaccinara traces its origins back to the Renaissance era when the vaccinari used their resourcefulness to create a delectable dish from the leftover parts of the cow that were unsuitable for the wealthy. These resourceful workers transformed oxtail, an inexpensive cut of meat, into a culinary masterpiece. Over time, Coda alla Vaccinara gained prominence and became an integral part of Roman cuisine, showcasing the creativity and resilience of the local community.

Popularity of Coda alla Vaccinara

The enduring popularity of Coda alla Vaccinara can be attributed to its rich flavors and the sense of nostalgia it evokes. Passed down through generations, this dish represents a piece of Roman heritage and cultural identity. Today, it is a staple on the menus of local restaurants and trattorias, delighting both locals and visitors alike. The Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies recognizes its significance by designating it as a “traditional agro-food product.”

Common Ingredients

To recreate the magic of Coda alla Vaccinara, you will need a few key ingredients. Oxtail, cut into pieces, forms the foundation of this stew. It offers a deep, meaty flavor and becomes meltingly tender during the slow cooking process. The recipe also calls for aromatic vegetables like onion, carrot, celery, and leek, which contribute to the rich and complex taste profile. The tomato-based sauce, created with crushed tomatoes, complements the oxtail and vegetables, infusing the dish with a vibrant tanginess. To enhance the flavors further, spices like bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg are added, creating a symphony of tastes that dance on the palate.

Coda alla Vaccinara is a classic Roman dish made with stewed oxtail. Here is a recipe for this delicious and hearty dish:


Indulge in the rich flavors of this classic Roman dish, Coda alla Vaccinara. Slowly stewed oxtail in a savory tomato sauce with aromatic vegetables creates a tender and flavorful meat that falls off the bone. Garnished with fresh parsley, this dish is a delightful culinary experience. Serve it with rigatoni pasta, crusty bread, or creamy polenta for a truly satisfying meal.
Course Meats
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author N. Jay Sorensen, MBA RDN


  • 2-3 pounds oxtail cut into pieces
  • 2 bacon slices
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrot peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalk chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 leek cleaned and chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 oz can peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley chopped, for garnish


  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add the oxtail pieces and brown them on all sides for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the oxtail from the pot and set it aside.
  • Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and chopped leek. Cook for another minute.
  • Pour in the red wine and let it cook for a few minutes to reduce slightly.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, cloves, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Return the oxtail to the pot, bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer, partially covered, for 3-4 hours, or until the oxtail is tender and falls off the bone.
  • Remove the bay leaf and season the stew with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  • Serve the coda alla vaccinara hot, garnished with freshly chopped parsley.


– Coda alla vaccinara is traditionally enjoyed with rigatoni pasta. However, you can also serve it with crusty bread or over a bed of creamy polenta for a delightful variation. Enjoy the robust flavors of this Roman classic!

Nutritional Value

Coda alla Vaccinara not only tantalizes the taste buds but also provides nourishment. Oxtail is a source of high-quality protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. It also contains collagen, which supports joint health and promotes healthy skin. The vegetables in this dish contribute an array of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, promoting overall wellness. While it is a rich and indulgent dish, portion control and balancing it with a variety of nutrient-dense foods can be key to maintaining a well-rounded diet.

Serving Ideas

Coda alla Vaccinara is traditionally served as a main course, accompanied by various sides that enhance the dining experience. Classic pairings include serving it with al dente rigatoni pasta, which captures the luscious tomato sauce in its hollow tubes. Alternatively, you can enjoy it with crusty bread, savoring every bit of sauce-soaked goodness. For a more substantial option, serve it over a bed of creamy polenta, allowing the velvety texture to complement the tender oxtail. Consider garnishing your dish with freshly chopped parsley, adding a burst of freshness to each bite.

In Conclusion

Coda alla Vaccinara is more than just a recipe; it is a testament to the rich history and cultural significance of Roman cuisine. The ingenuity of the vaccinari turned humble oxtail into a beloved culinary masterpiece. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its irresistible flavors and the connection it fosters with the past. Whether you prepare it for a special occasion or a cozy family meal, Coda alla Vaccinara is a dish that invites you to savor tradition and indulge in the vibrant tapestry of Roman flavors. So, gather your ingredients, embark on a culinary journey, and savor the timeless delight that is Coda alla Vaccinara.

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