It’s getting colder. Gusty. There’s that crispness in the air that seems to steep the desire for slow simmered, one pot dishes that are simple to make and comforting for the soul.
I came across the original version of this dish at a Trattoria in Siena. There, it was presented as “Vitello con Pepperoncino” or Veal and Peppers. It was a hearty secondo with a thick brown sauce that was creamy and delicious. I didn’t ask, but I suspect the sauce was enhanced with mascarpone and since I had some leftover from this, I knew what I was going to do.
Stufato di Vitello con Pepperoncino
1 & 1/2 pounds veal stew meat
2 yellow peppers, coarsely cut
2 poblano peppers, coarsely cut
6 oz. brown crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2-3 Tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese
All Purpose Flour
The success of this dish lies in the meat. If you’re not getting quality veal, you may end up with a chewy disgusting mess. Tell the butcher what you want to do and ask him for a nice cut of meat.
Dredge the veal in flour, shake off the excess and brown thoroughly so a nice color forms on the meat. Work in batches so your pan is not overcrowded otherwise the meat will steam and not gain any color.
|~ Batch 1: Nice color and the meat is not cooked through ~|
Next, add the onions, mushrooms and garlic to the pan that held the veal. Saute for 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly and then deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup red wine. Scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. As the wine evaporates, add the chopped peppers and continue to cook until they soften; about 10-12 minutes on medium heat.
|~ Peppers, Garlic, and Onions working in the pan. Not the color picked up from the deglazing ~|
Once the peppers soften, return the veal to the pan including all the accumulated juices they let out on the plate. Add another 1/4 cup red wine and cover with a lid slightly ajar. Adjust flame to low and allow to slowly simmer for 20 minutes.
Next add a tablespoon of tomato paste – I keep a tube handy in the refrigerator – and the mascarpone and stir through to combine.
|~ After adding the tomato paste and mascarpone ~|
Finally, I added a handful or two of peas to give a splash of bright color. The final key to pulling off this recipe is to taste the sauce before you serve. Mascarpone is bland and you will likely need to adjust the seasoning. Pepper and a tiny bit of nutmeg work wonders in this dish.
|~ The Chef’s Plate ~|
October 13, 2014