Spezzatino: Hearty Eating in Umbria
We seem now to be sliding out of one of the coldest – and most disastrous – winters on record. Sunny today and somewhat warmer. Our wood stove is chugging away in the kitchen, heating our house, all the hot water – and something is always simmering on the cast iron stove top.
Today? Some of Peppa’s chickpea soup and a spezzatino (“stew,” literally meaning “fragmented, in pieces”). On chilly days, a few slices of bread might be toasting, too: bruschetta coming up.
…..and here’s the recipe for you:
Ingredients (for 4):
- 1 lb tender stew beef, cut into chunks
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 2 stalks celery
- olive oil (q. b. “quanto basta” or “as much as you need”)
- salt, pepper, q.b
- 2 T butter
- 2 thick slices of Italian pancetta, (bacon), diced
- 1 glass white wine (but I used rosso, our red wine, made by Pino!)
- flour, q.b.
- 2 branches fresh rosemary
- small branch sage (or at least about 6 -7 leaves)
- 3 or 4 bay leaves
- 5 potatoes
Dice carrots, onions, celery.
Dice about 2 slices, thickly cut of Italian pancetta. Melt butter in stainless steel saucepan and add pancetta, browning it on low heat just about 5 minutes (do not burn!)
Add the diced vegetables to the pancetta and simmer a few minutes, then set aside.
Roll stew beef pieces lightly in flour.
Cover a stainless steel pan with olive oil, q.b. and put in floured stew beef, browning the beef for a few minutes.
Add the beef to the vegeables and pancetta and douse with the wine, adding also rosemary, sage, bay leaf and salt, pepper, q.b.
Cover all with two glasses of hot water and simmer covered on low heat for 1. 4 hrs.
Then add peeled potatoes cut into large chunks and simmer for another 40 – 45 minutes.
Serve. Enjoy. Buon appetito!