Spezzatino (Italian Stew). A Roman Favorite.

Spezzatino di manzo is an italian stew made typically with beef and potatoes. The dish is cooked slowly for at least two hours until the meat is tender and the sauce becomes a scrumptious gravy.

What is spezzatino?

The word comes from spezzato (broken) making reference to the meat cut in small cubes. Is a hearty dish that can be find all over the country.

This Italian stew can be made with various types of meat, like veal, lamb and pork. But is the beef the most used meat and normally using the less expensive cuts.

There are a few ways for making Spezzatino and every italian house have their own version of this recipe. Some use a little bit of tomato (spezzatino col sugo), some others adds other types of vegetables like peas or zucchini.

My recipe is the roman version, which is made in bianco (white) because it doesn’t have tomato sauce. My mother in law taught me to do this dish many years ago and is one of my favourites Italian dishes. Specially in the coldest months of the year.

estofado italiano

How To Make a Great Spezzatino

THE MEAT – Choose the right meat. A cheap beef cut is what you need because all the fat, collagen and connective tissues will melt during the cooking, leaving a wonderful and unique flavour.

SLOW COOKING – Spezzatino is mean to be a slow cooking dish. There’s no way around. Yes, you can accelerate the cooking time by using an instant pot but somehow I find the dish more delicious when is cooked slowly. An option would be a slow pot cooker and that’s what I normally use when I don’t have the time to be in the kitchen for 2-3 hours.

KEEP IT SIMPLE – I honestly don’t see the need of adding beef stock. The dish has a lot of flavour by its own. The garlic, carrots, onions and celery (soffritto) adds all flavour you need. So does the meat. But if you can’t help, go ahead and add beef stock, just pay attention to salt. Italian cooking is all about simple flavours.

How To Serve

You can serve this dish with a loaf of bread, specially if it is homemade. Or you can also serve it over creamy polenta, just like the way northern italians do it.

My mother in law used to serve the meat separately with the potatoes as a side dish and used the sauce to make pasta. This way she will have a primo (first dish) and secondo (main dish) from one single recipe.

Then, if you want your own version for serving this dish I’ll suggest to add it on top of rice, quinoa or, in a very Keto-style, a bowl of cauliflower rice.

The Recipe

Season the meat with salt and pepper and prepare the soffritto by chopping all vegetables and garlic.

Meat on a plate. Chopping onions.

In a large cooking pan heat the oil over high heat. Add meat and stir-fry for about 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Add chopped vegetables and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and translucent.

Meat browned on the pan. Meat cooked with vegetables.

Pour in the wine, mix and let it evaporate completly.

Cover the meat with water (or beef stock), season with salt, add bay leaves and bring to a boil.

As soon as the stew start to boil low the heat to the minimum, cover and let it simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Check up the stew from time to time to mix a bit and add more water if needed.

Meat covered with water. The stew boiling.

Mix in the potatoes and cook with the pan uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has become very thick, like a gravy.

Adding potatoes. Spezzatino ready.

Adjust with salt, turn off the heat, let it sit for 10 minutes and serve.

More italian stews

  • Chicken Cacciatora – A classic Italian dish with chicken, olives and herbs. All simmered in a delicious tomato sauce.
  • Stracotto – This Roman-Jewish main dish is all about slow cooking. Serve with Challah bread or over rigatoni pasta.
  • Coda alla Vaccinara – A slow-cook stew made with beef’s oxtail braised in a tomato sauce and spices.
  • Chicken Romana – Get ready for this amazing mediterranean chicken with bell peppers.

spezzatino (Italian stew) roman style.

6 people
Spezzatino di manzo is an italian stew made typically with beef and potatoes. The dish is cooked slowly for at least two hours until the meat is tender and the sauce becomes a scrumptious gravy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 50 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb (950 gr) beef meat cut into chunks
  • 1 ½ lb (700 gr) potatoes cut into chunks
  • ½ cup (120 ml) white wine
  • 1 medium onion (about 100 gr)
  • 1 medium carrot (about 80 gr)
  • 2 celery sticks (about 120 gr)
  • 3 Tbsp (40 gr) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • Season the meat with salt and pepper and prepare the soffritto by finely chopping all vegetables and garlic.
  • In a large cooking pan heat the oil over high heat. Add meat and stir-fry for about 15 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Add chopped vegetables and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and translucent.
  • Pour in the wine, mix and let it evaporate completly.
  • Cover the meat with water, season with salt, add bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and let it simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Check up the stew from time to time to mix a bit and add more water if needed.
  • Mix in the potatoes and cook with the pan uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has become very thick, like a gravy.
  • Adjust with salt, turn off the heat, let it sit for 10 minutes and serve.
Course main dish
Cuisine italian

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