Spezzatino di vitello con vino rosso from Veneto
I remember the first time I had this, just outside Venice in February. I was living in Milan at the time as a student, and some friends and I had decided to go to Venice carnival for the day – it was beautiful, full of swirling colours, theatrical costumes and sweet treats. It was also bitterly cold. So when we decided to have dinner in a trattoria on the outskirts, it was the enticing smell of this wonderfully warming dish that drew us in. It was every bit as delicious as the aroma promised, as well as being beautifully tender, and to this day it is the dish I go back to when I am cold and it is raining and dark outside.
It is a true winter warmer: meaty and rich, with a deep red colour and a wonderful, full flavour. It takes a little while to make, because although it is simple the cooking time is quite lengthy… but they do say that good things come to those who wait!
You will need (Serves 4)
500g of veal, chopped into chunks
One glass of red wine
250ml of beef or vegetable stock
One clove of garlic
All purpose flour, for thickening
Two or three sprigs of rosemary
a spoonful of olive oil
A knob of butter
salt and pepper to taste
Start by crushing the garlic with the flat of your knife and browning it in some oil in the bottom of a pan (Why does garlic smell so good cooking but so bad on your breath?). In the meantime, roll the chunks of meat in flour and put them in the pan alongside the garlic, browning until they take on a golden hue.
Chop and add the rosemary, the red wine and the stock; then add a bit of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on a low flame for around two hours, until the meat is tender enough to be pulled apart. Serve with roast potatoes or with polenta for an authentic Northern Italian meal.