Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spezzatino di Vitello a Risi Piselli

     Italian Veal Stew With Peas & Rice! 
     There are several regional Italian veal stew recipes.  Some are very simple and they resemble an ordinary bowl of home style stew made with carrots, onion, celery and potato.  Some regional Italian veal stews require very few ingredients and they look elegant on a plate.  Often a key flavor combination, like lemon and sage, is featured in such a veal stew.
     Many traditional Italian veal stew recipes are made only with ingredients that were available before the Colombian Exchange.  This means that peppers, potato and tomato are not in the list of ingredients.  The recipes for some Italian stews that require no ingredients from the Americas actually date back to the days of the Roman Empire.  As the old saying goes, there is no use trying to improve a good thing.
     Today's Italian Spezzatino di Vitello recipe is one of my favorites.  Tomato is the only new world ingredient added.  The flavor of this simple veal stew is very nice!  Rici Piselli is a good accompaniment for this stew.
     Spezzatino di Vitello:
     This recipe yields 1 large portion of stew.  (About 2 1/2 cups)
     Step 1:  Cut 8 ounces of veal leg or shoulder meat into bite size stewing pieces.
     Lightly dredge the veal pieces in flour.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauce pot or sauteuse pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of pomace olive oil.
     Add the floured veal pieces.
     Sauté till golden brown highlights appear on all sides of the veal pieces.
     Step 3:  Drain off the excess oil.  Leave about 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan.
     Return the pan to medium/medium low heat.  
     Step 4:  Add 2 chopped garlic cloves.
     Add 1 thin sliced small shallot.
     Sauté till the garlic starts to turn a golden color.
     Step 5:  Add 2 or 3 small portobello field mushrooms that are cut into quarter wedges.
     Add 1/3 cup of thick carrot slices.
     Briefly sauté till the vegetables start to become aromatic.
     Step 6:  Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/4 cup of imported Italian canned crushed plum tomato.
     Add enough veal broth or beef broth to cover the ingredients.  (About 2 1/2 to 3 cups.)
     Bring the stew to a gentle boil while stirring.  (The flour on the veal will thicken the sauce to a very thin consistency.)
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin chiffonade sliced fresh sage leaves.  (chiffonade = cut into very thin ribbons.)
     Add 6 black olives that are cut in half.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of capers.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 8:  Gently simmer and reduce till the stewing sauce becomes a medium thin consistency and the veal is tender.  (about 40 minutes)
     Step 9:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Keep the stew warm over very low heat.

     Rici Piselli:
     This recipe yields 2 portions of peas and rice.
     I chose brown rice, because it has a nice natural nutty flavor.  White rice is traditional.
     Brown rice requires more water than white rice.  If you choose white rice, use a proportion of 1 part long grain white rice to 2 parts of liquid.
     Step 1:  Boil 2 1/4 cups of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 1 cup of brown rice.
     When the liquid returns to a boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Step 2:  Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam the rice for 20 minutes till the rice becomes tender.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of chicken broth.
     Add 3/4 cup of thawed frozen peas.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Stir the peas and rice together over very low heat, so the peas become hot.
     Spezzatino di Vitello a Risi Piselli: 
     Spoon 1 portion of the rici piselli onto a plate.
     Use a spoon to form a ring of peas and rice around the border of the plate.
     Spoon the spezzatino di vitello on the plate inside of the ring of peas and rice.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     The flavor of this spezzatino is delicious and comfortable!  The wine, sage, capers, shallots and garlic combine to give this recipe a classic flavor.  It does not take much time for the veal to be stewed tender, so this stew recipe can be finished in less than 1 hour.

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