Stracotto di Manzo “Peposo”

Peppery Tuscan Beef Stew

Preparation info

  • Serves

    6 to 8

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This tongue-tingling beef ragout is a specialty of the little hill town of L’Impruneta. The tomatoes are less prominent than in the preceding three dishes because the wine and black pepper provide strong competition. While it is often accompanied by boiled potatoes, I like to serve the stew with slices of grilled or toasted country bread, the better to sop up all the wonderfully rich, peppery sauce.


  • cups (or as needed) mild olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds beef chuck or brisket, trimmed well and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • ½ pound pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 3 large onions, cut into medium dice (4 to 5 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes with ¾ cup of the juices
  • 1 cup Beef Stock
  • Salt


    Combine ¾ cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon pepper in a shallow nonaluminum container. Add the beef cubes and turn in the marinade to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Let the meat warm to room temperature. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy sauté pan over high heat. Add as many beef cubes to the pan as will comfortably fit (overcrowding will cause the beef to steam, rather than brown) and brown on all sides; transfer to a large casserole. Repeat with the remaining beef cubes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons oil to the pan as needed for each batch. Pour the wine into the pan and boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes; add wine to the casserole with the beef.

    Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until the fat is rendered, about 15 minutes. Add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent and the pancetta is cooked through but not crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons pepper and cook 2 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the casserole with the beef.

    Pulse the tomatoes with their juices in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the casserole along with the stock. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat and simmer covered until the meat is almost cooked through, about 2 hours. Remove the cover and increase the heat. Gently boil until the stewing liquids have thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning; the sauce should be quite robust and peppery. Serve with potatoes or grilled bread.