Sunday, 7 February 2010

Spezzatino di Manzo and Pane Pugliese

See, what did I tell you about food sounding even sexier in Italian?
This is similar to French Boeuf Bourguignon, you do have to love red wine to love this stew. As it happens... I do!
The slow simmer gives the stew a rich flavour. I subbed in almost half of the beef for mushrooms, as that was what I had on hand, and it turned out lovely. Rich, dark, deep and delicious. Man food, to be sure, and very sexy indeed. It uses a good part of a bottle of wine, the last cup is for the chef. Make sure to have another bottle on hand!

This Pane Pugliese is the last of the regular artisan bread section in the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge, it is a wet dough and a fantastic tasting loaf. Hubby declared it his new favourite... something he has said many times in baking through Peter Reinhart's book - a testament to how wonderful the book is.
The Pane Pugliese was perfect accompaniment to this stew. Next up - sourdough!

David Rocco is an Italian/Canadian with a show on Food Network Canada and proof positive that a gal can never have too many foodie crushes. He always insists "I'm not a chef, I'm Italian", that cooking is a birthright. In his television show we are treated to a tour of Italy's most beautiful regions and delectable foods. His laid back approach to cooking is charming and inviting, "Quanto basta", is his catchphrase, "As much as you need".
Couldn't have said it better myself...

Spezzatino di Manzo
(Classic Beef Stew)
David Rocco, Food Network Canada
David Rocco's Dolce Vita
Recipe slightly adapted by me

This is another one-pot recipe with brilliant results. In my opinion, the most important part of many one-pot wonders is the flavour base, which is the soffrito.
This is a great dish to make when you're hanging around the house, because it gets its flavour from a long, slow cooking time. And the good news is that you can ask your butcher for a cheaper or inferior cut of meat to make it. That's probably why some people call this poor man's stew. DR

2 lb stewing beef, in 1-inch cubes
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cups red wine
1/2 cup tomato purée
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
Vegetable stock, as needed

The first thing you want to do is sear the stewing beef to give it a nice crust. So heat up your pan on high heat, add a splash of olive oil and then add the meat, cooking it for a few minutes in the hot oil until the outside gets nice and brown. Transfer it to a plate, season it with some salt and pepper, and set it aside.

Lower the heat to medium-high and add a splash of olive oil, then the soffritto ingredients: the carrot, celery and onions. Stir this around, mixing everything together. You'll notice that some bits of meat are stuck to the bottom of the pan, so throuw in a cup of the red wine to deglaze the pan and stir, scraping up those bits of fat and meat, which are full of flavour. Let that reduce and cook until it gets soft and golden.

Throw your meat back in and mix everything together. Add the rest of the wine, the tomato purée, and salt and pepper. Let the liquid come to a slight boil and throw in the potatoes. I like to cut my potatoes into big chunks so that they don't bread down over the long cooking time and become a big pappa. Make sure everything is covered by the liquid. If your vegetables and meat aren't fully covered, you can add vegetable stock. Or if you don't have any stock, water is fine.
Turn the heat down to medium and let it cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring every so often so that it doesn't stick. The liquid will cook down and give the spezzatino a rich, thick sauce.

I know what you are thinking and forget it. Clearly he is pouring that glass for me. So thoughtful, David!

This Pane Pugliese has been Yeastspotted!

Here is a clip of the promo of David Rocco's Dolce Vita on Food Network Canada. Be prepared to fall immediately and completely in love. Oh yeah, Italy looks nice too.

Spezzatino di Manzo for Souper Sundays with Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.