Beef ‘spezzatino’ (stew) with parmesan polenta

Serves Icon
Time 04 Hours
  • 1kg gravy beef (boneless shin), roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 4 sage leaves, finely chopped to serve
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1L beef stock
  • 1L water
  • 250g instant polenta
  • 50g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 50g butter
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It
Step 1

Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. Season gravy beef with salt and pepper, then dust in flour, shaking off any excess.

Step 2

Heat half of the olive oil in a large heavy-based stockpot (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Cook the gravy beef (boneless shin) until nicely browned all over. Remove from stockpot and set aside.

Step 3

Heat the remaining olive oil in the stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is tender (about 5 minutes). Add the tomato paste, rosemary, sage and bay leaves. Return the gravy beef to pan, add the wine and simmer until reduced by about half (about 5 minutes). Pour in the beef stock, then reduce the heat to low. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for a further 1½ – 2 hours or until the gravy beef is tender. Check the amount of liquid in the pot from time to time and add more water if required. Discard the bay leaves.

Step 4

Meanwhile to make the parmesan polenta, bring 1 litre of salted water to the boil over high heat. Add the instant polenta to the boiling water and cook – referring to the cooking time specified in the packet instructions. Once thickened, remove the polenta from the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano and butter.

Step 5

Serve the beef ‘spezzatino’ (stew) with reduced braising liquid spooned over the parmesan polenta – buon appetito.

1kg gravy beef (boneless shin), roughly chopped|2 tablespoons plain flour for dusting|4 tablespoons (80ml) extra virgin olive oil|1 large onion, finely chopped|1 clove garlic, crushed|2 tablespoons tomato paste|4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped|4 sage leaves, finely chopped to serve|2 bay leaves|250ml red wine|1L beef stock|1L water|250g instant polenta|50g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated|50g butter|Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Vanessa Bottaro

Author, Founder and Creative Director at Italian Spoon
In my eyes, Italian cuisine is love on a plate.

Vanessa is Creative Director of the Italian Spoon website and Author of The Italian entertaining cookbook, a collection of home-style Italian recipes and tips for entertaining in true Italian-style. In addition to cooking and taking photographs, Vanessa writes the recipes and blogs to bring the love of Italian cooking to life! The collection of recipes and blogs on the website have been inspired by travels to Italy and desire to share what she has learnt from the great ‘Mamma’s and ‘Nonna’s in her life!

Vanessa is an entrepreneur and wife to husband Simone and the mother of two beautiful kids Dante and Mia. Even so she was born and lives in Melbourne Australia, Vanessa has a deep connection to Italy. Perhaps it is the food, or maybe it is because it is the place where Vanessa met the love of her life, Simone to whom she has been happily married for so many years.
Vanessa Bottaro

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