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!
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.
The best way to make spezzata is by using a variety of meats. I use rabbit, lamb, pork back ribs, veal, and sausage. Make sure that everything is cut roughly the same size so that it cooks evenly. Spezzata means cut into pieces, so take a hint from the name.
Keep the sausage separate while seasoning because it already has seasoning.
Pour enough olive oil on the meat to give it a light coating. Salt, pepper, diced garlic, and rosemary to taste.
Open a jar of unpitted large green olives. Pour out the water and add the olives and sausage to your meat combo.
Place everything in a large roasting pan.
Oven at 500F for 20 minutes, then lowered to 400 until it's done. Depending on the amount that you cook, this can take anywhere from an hour to two hours.