Slow-Cooked Beef, “Pastisada” Style

Pastisada di Manzo

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

    as a main course

Appears in

Pastisada is a thousand-year-old specialty of Verona. It is traditionally prepared with horse meat, but I have found the recipe works fabulously with beef as well. Do not be dissuaded by the rather long ingredient list; the dish is actually simple to prepare. You just have to be patient enough to let the meat cook for 6 hours. Traditionally, the wine used is Amarone, a rich jammy Veronese wine made from dried grapes, which can be somewhat pricey. A possible and more economical alternative is a good, rich Zinfandel. Serve with polenta, the traditional pairing, or mashed potatoes.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time from start to finish: hours

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 ribs celery
  • pounds beef chuck
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh sage leaves
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 cup Amarone or Zinfandel wine

Method

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel the carrot and celery and cut into ¼-inch dice. Cut the meat into approximately 2-inch pieces.
  2. Put the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed braising pan and place over medium-high heat. When the oil and butter are hot and the butter is just beginning to turn color, put in the meat and brown it on all sides. Transfer the meat to a platter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. While the meat is browning, dissolve the tomato paste in the wine. Chop enough of the sage and rosemary leaves to measure 2 teaspoons each. After browning the meat, put the onion, carrot, and celery in the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, and cloves. Stir for a few seconds, then add the wine. Season with a little salt and return the meat to the pan. When the wine begins to bubble, lower the heat so that it simmers gently. Cover the pan and cook, stirring every 25 to 30 minutes, for 6 hours. If all the liquid evaporates before the time is up, add some water. If there is still liquid in the pan when the meat is done, raise the heat, remove the cover, and allow the excess liquid to evaporate until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Discard the bay leaves and serve hot.

Note

This dish can be made 1 to 2 days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

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