Comfort Stew

Time: 30 minutes preparation 1 hour 10 minutes no-work cooking time

This is a good example of how easily you can create a great tasting stew without much fuss. What you do need, though, is time; so plan to make this on an evening when you have about an hour and a half before dinner to give the stew time to gently cook. The dish abounds in vegetables and pasta and will satisfy the hungriest of souls.

Those short on time but still in need of stew should take a look at the pressure-cooker recipes at the end of this chapter.


  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cubed veal stewing meat
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water or each broth and tomato juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • ¼ cup fresh dill leaves
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni, tubetti, or acini pepe


  1. Finely chop the onion. Peel and slice the carrots ½-inch thick.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the veal, increase the heat to high, and sauté until the veal begins to brown, about 10 minutes. The veal will throw off lots of water, but don’t be alarmed.
  4. Add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. With a spoon, remove any scum that has risen to the surface.
  5. Add the carrots to the veal and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until the veal is tender, about 40 minutes more.
  6. Meanwhile peel, seed, and cut the cucumber into ½-inch cubes. Mince the dill.
  7. When the veal is done, stir in the pasta and simmer covered until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes more.
  8. Add the cucumber and dill and let the stew stand, off the heat and covered, for 10 minutes to warm the cucumber without cooking it through. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot in deep bowls.