Spezzatino con Zucchine e Patate

Courgettes, Potato and Veal Stew

This delicious summer stew from Liguria makes the best use of the fresh, light tasting courgettes and tiny potatoes available in that area. In Italy, where the calves are milk-fed and are killed very young, this would be a quick dish – probably only 30 minutes’ simmering with tender meat. But for Northern Europe, where the calves are older, I have allowed extra simmering time.


  • 150 ml (¼ pint) olive oil
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 750 g ( lb) stewing veal, cut into cubes
  • 1 large glass, about 150 ml (5 fl oz), dry white wine
  • 450 g (1 lb) new potatoes, scrubbed and washed
  • about 5 tablespoons chicken, meat or vegetable stock
  • 400 g (14 oz) ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon tomato paste
  • 300 g (10 oz) fresh young courgettes, sliced
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the garlic and fry until soft. Add the celery, carrot, onion and veal and brown the meat on all sides.

Pour in the wine and cook for 5 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate, then add the potatoes and the stock. Simmer gently for about 1½ hours, until the meat is approaching tenderness. Then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, courgettes and oregano. Season and cook gently for a further 20 minutes, adding a little more stock if required. Serve hot with salad and dry white wine.