- Course: Main Course
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 98 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
Italian cooks are famous for cooking creatively and deliciously with a handful of ingredients. This stew is typical of Tuscany, where many dishes include the local red wine. Don’t bother opening up a bottle of fine Chianti for cooking—moderately priced American or Australian wine will do. Serve it over hot polenta or small pasta, such as ditalini.
Prep: Cut pancetta into ¼- to 1½-inch dice. Chop onion. Chop celery crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices.
1. Combine pancetta and olive oil in Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta browns, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to plate. Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. In batches, add to fat in pot and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with pancetta.
2. Add onion and celery to pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add wine to pot, scraping up browned bits on bottom, and bring to boil. Return beef, pancetta, and any juices on plate to pot. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until beef is tender, about 1½ hours.
3. Stir in basil. Serve hot.
Pancetta is the same cut as bacon but rolled up into a cylinder and cured without smoke. You’ll find it at many supermarkets and certainly all Italian delicatessens. Ask the deli person to slice it on the thick side, about ¼ inch thick, and not paper thin, as is probably their habit. If you can’t find it, use regular sliced bacon.
Nutritional information does not include salt and pepper to taste.