Posts tagged ‘Tuscan’

January 1, 2009

Spezzatino Maiale


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January 1, 2009


One of the drawbacks to Florida living is the lack of need of curling up in front of a cozy fireplace with a nice fleecy blanket and a big bowl of warm soup to heat you from the inside out.  For that reason, I don’t make stews and soups as often as I used to when we lived north of hell, but I do enjoy them.

Peposo is an Italian beef soup, meaning pepper stew, usually with a good kick of spice.  This is from the Tuscan region of Italy and there is a story that Filippo Brunelleschi, the Italian architect, popularized this dish.  The original recipe calls for this to be cooked in a kiln or oven in a terracotta earthenware dish at very low temperatures for about 2 – 3 hours.  I do this in my crockpot with the setting on 10 hours.  On the stovetop, you should set the burner to a low heat.

Don’t skimp on the meat, there is nothing worse than chewy gristly meat in your stew.  I would suggest a good thick and well marbled steak, not a sirloin or market type.  And a lot of recipes include lots of hearty vegetables, but this stew actually is really good with very little more than meat and flavour.


2 pounds steak, 1 – 2 inches thick, cubed to bite size chunks

3 Roma tomatoes, peeled and crushed

4 cloves garlic, peeled

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup red wine*

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

*If you wouldn’t drink it in a cup, don’t put it in the pot!  As for what type of red wine, this really comes down to preferences.  I use chianti.

  • Add all ingredients to your cooking pot of choice.
  • Add cold water, so that water is no more than an inch over all of your ingredients.
  • Cover and cook at a low temperature until meat is tender and broth is thick.
  • Serve warm with fresh toasted bread.
January 1, 2009


I couldn’t keep posting all of my favourite Italian dishes without including minestrone.  Minestrone is a classic Italian soup, but there is no classic recipe.  This was a poor man’s meal, so many recipes vary based on locale and typically included whatever the family could throw into the pot.  Most generally minestrone does not include meats, it usually is a vegetable soup.  You can also cook this during the day while away at work by throwing everything into the crock pot, just be certain to save the leafy vegetables for adding in at the end of the day, about 20 minutes or so before you are ready to serve.


1 small red onion, diced

1 small white onion, diced

4 carrots, peeled and sliced to 1/2 thickness

6-8 leafs of spinach, washed and chopped, bite size

2 potatoes, washed and diced

1 cup navy beans, washed

2 stalks celery, washed and sliced, bite size

4 twigs parsley, washed and chopped

5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup arugula, washed and chopped

2 ounces tomato paste

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 cup red wine*

*As always, if you wouldn’t drink it in a glass, don’t cook with it!

  • Place a heavy pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions, garlic and olive oil and heat.  Stir until onions become transparent.
  • Add in wine and tomato paste.  Stir until thoroughly blended.
  • Reduce heat to low to medium temperature.
  • Add in potatoes, beans, celery and carrots.
  • Add enough water to cover all ingredients.
  • Cover and allow to simmer until beans are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Continually add enough water to cover the pot’s contents.
  • Add in leafy vegetables and cook for another thirty minutes.
  • Add pepper and salt to taste.