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Lombardy-Style Stewed Beef

Straccotto alla Lombarda
The success of this classic stewed beef from Lombardy in the north of Italy depends on several things: the marinating time (overnight is best), the use of a good red wine, like Barolo, and the flavoring of the onions with speck. Once cooked, it is even better the next day, served atop slices of golden polenta. The word "straccotta" means to cook a long time, and about 2 hours will do it for this recipe.

Serves six


 3 pounds boneless rump or eye round roast

2-1/2 cups dry red wine such as Barolo

1 cup diced onion

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 rib celery, diced

1/4teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 bay leaves

2 whole cloves

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup diced Speck dell'Alto Adige (or pancetta)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Salt to taste

Grinding black pepper to taste


Place the meat in a Dutch oven or similar deep casserole just large enough to hold it.  Add the wine, half the onion, and the garlic, celery, nutmeg, bay leaves, and cloves.  Cover the meat and refrigerate several hours, or overnight, turning the meat occasionally.

When ready to cook, drain the meat from the marinade and wipe it dry with paper towels.  Drain the vegetables and reserve. Save the marinade.

Wipe the Dutch oven or casserole dry, and melt the butter.  Add the speck and the remaining onion.  Sauté for 3 or 4 minutes or until the speck just begins to crisp and the onion is soft.  Transfer the mixture to a plate and reserve.

Rub the meat with the flour and add it to the drippings in the pan.  Brown the meat well on all sides.  Return the pancetta mixture to the pan along with the reserved vegetables.  Cook slowly about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add saltand pepper to taste, and pour in the reserved marinade.  Bring the mixture to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Transfer the meat to a platter.  Remove the bay leaves and cloves and discard them.  Placethe remaining liquid and vegetables in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.  Slice the meat and topwith the sauce.


The meat will slice better if you allow it to stand tented with a sheet of aluminum foil for 15 minutes.  Or if made ahead and refrigerated, slice the meat while still cold.



*Speck dell'Alto Adige is a Northern Italianpork product, cut from the hind quarters of a special breed of Italian hogs.  It is lightly smoked raw ham that has beenseasoned for 22 weeks.  It slices likeprosciutto but cooks like bacon. You may substitute pancetta for the Speck.


Featured on show 1901 - How Do You Make Homemade Wine?


Thisrecipe is from CiaoItalia Slow and Easy by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin'sPress in 2007.



  1. Robert Jusko's avatar

    Robert Jusko

    We love your web site and show. If you ever wish to do a show in Seattle we would love to share our house and our trentini food with you. Thank you

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