Spezzatino. Those were magic words that I was raised listening to from my mom, grandmother and aunts. In Italy, Spezzatino is a staples on each family. The way to prepare it are endless, but the base remains the same: tomato sauce. The preparation is as easy as 1-2-3. The result is a very succulent beef chunks cooked into a bed of potatoes covered with tomatoes.
My mom gave my her phenomenal cook books of “Enciclopedia della Cucina / Curcio”. I had my eyes on those 12 books since I was a teen ager. Since the day that my mom pass them down to me, they have taken center stage on my book shelf and I constantly look at them, open them, get ideas from them. The books and recipes transport me back to my years in Paris and the fun desert recipes that I used to make from it. I only baked back then. It was fun then, it is fun now having the book in my hands and reading them.
So… with recipe in hand, all the ingredients put together, actually layered in a large pan, in the oven it all went and one hour and half later of lingering aromas this wonderful dish was ready to be enjoyed. We had no left over and that was sad as I was looking forward to have it for lunch. Well maybe next time…
TIP: I love Le Creuset pans. I have since I started cooking. With this recipe I used a 4 quarts round. The heat was distributed evenly on the bottom as well as all the sides, the juices were all nicely blended together.
Tonight’s December 4, 2011 dinner:
Spezzatino of Beef with Potatoes and Onions
SPEZZATINO OF BEEF WITH POTATOES AND ONIONS
2 to 3 pounds of beef chuck, cut into small cubes
1 ½ large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
7 oz. sliced and diced bacon
1 28 oz. can of peeled tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350º.
In a large gratin dish or pan, cover the bottom with olive oil. Add one layer of the onion slices. In top of that add the beef cubes, making sure that they are all the same size. Salt and pepper the meat. Another layer of potatoes and cover it all with the bacon. Add the can of tomatoes and the basil leaves. Lightly salt and put in the oven for 1 ½ hour.
Make sure that during cooking the juices are not drying up to much. If it becomes dry add couple of tablespoons of water to it, or wine.
Serve in the same dish.