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Feb 9, 2008 06:54 AM

Looking for a recipe for spezzata

I had dinner at an Italian friend's house and she made spezzata -- her version was basically chunks of stew beef with green olives. I didn't ask her for the recipe because frankly, her version was not very good -- there wasn't enough sauce and the meat was dry -- but I saw a lot of potential for an excellent dish, especially in the winter. I Googled it and found nothing helpful, so I'm wondering if anyone has a good loose recipe (meaning I don't need strict measurements, etc.) on how to put this dish together. I think the word "spezzata" is dialect, so that may be why I'm having trouble finding a starting point recipe. Some Italian Americans call it "spezzat", or "spezzatina". I think some versions have bell peppers in it, there are all sorts of variations. I guess I'm basically looking for the main ingredients and cooking technique. I am guessing you should brown the meat at a high heat and then let it cook for a long time (she didn't, hence the toughness of the stew beef), but I'm wondering how best to get more of a sauce than she had (it wasn't a red sauce, more of a sauce that comes along naturally when cooking beef.) Anyway, I'm rambling now. Any family recipes you want to share would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Spezzatino is basically a meat stew. Most often veal is the meat of choice. You say it was not a red sauced dish, however tomatoes are included most times either crushed, canned - or ripe, chopped. So, I think you could use any combination of braising veggies, evoo, minced garlic, parsley, etc.

    For Spezzatino di Manzo, beef is used and potatoes are incorporated, along with red wine, some tomato paste, and all the usual braising veggies..

    After browning the meat, add the liquids. There should be just enough liquid to almost cover the ingredients. Then simmer for an hour or more. Taste for seasoning and add anything you want. It should be hearty and spicy.