4.21.2018

No Regrets!

Early last autumn, we visited one of our favorite wineries in Tuscany - Il Palazzone. The vineyard is located in Montalcino, a stunning Tuscan hill town known world-wide for its incredible wine, Brunello.

Laura Gray, Estate Manager for Il Palazzone, poured several vintages for us to compare. Becky and David bought a case of Brunello and had it shipped home; we took home a bottle of grappa.

It wasn’t until we were home that Laura posted today’s recipe for spezzatino on the vinyard’s website specifically to pair with this year’s vintage. I decided immediately I wanted to make it.

Suddenly, I was filled with regret. Why on earth didn’t we buy a bottle of Brunello to bring home? What were we thinking!?

I emailed Laura to tell her I was making the stew, and ask if she thought it would be okay with its creator, Raffaella, if I posted it here. I mentioned that I regretted not buying Brunello while I was there.

Being the ever-helpful friend that she is (and good business person!), she told me it’s never too late. Within minutes, my order was placed and six bottles of wine were on their way. That is how you cope with regret.

While my first pot of Raffaella’s spezzatino was eaten while quaffing a lesser wine, future batches are secure in their finer company. Raffaella's website, Lunch with Raffaella, is beautiful and inspiring, as is her Instagram feed. I would love to take a class from her someday.

By the way, after the six bottles arrived, I went to put them in the hiding place I reserve for special wines for special occasions. And what should I find in my secret stash? A bottle of Brunello that we did bring home with us, but forgot we had put away. Duh.

But, as I am wont to say, “More is better.”

~ David

Onion and Paprika Spezzatino Raffaella
Minimally adapted from the recipe by Raffaella Cova

2 pounds chuck steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces red wine
1 cup drained, chopped canned San Marzano tomatoes
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup beef stock or broth


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Sear the meat for a few minutes on all sides.

Add sliced onion, and sauté until it softens and begins to take on color.

Add the paprika and salt, stir, then add the wine, tomatoes, and stock. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.

Add the potatoes and cook another 20-30 minutes. If the stew seems too dry, add a little water.

Taste for salt and correct to taste.


Serves 4.

32 comments:

  1. This looks like a must try!!

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    1. It is really quite tasty! I think you and Dave will like it!

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  2. Definitely inviting ! Thank you !

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  3. Haha don't you just love finding things you completely forgot about? Now you have seven! Unless, of course, you've polished off a couple already.
    When I first saw this spezzatino I thought it was some kind of goulaš. Either way, this is my kind of food!

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    1. I am not saying how many are left, John!

      You know, it never even occurred to my that it is akin to a goulaš, but now that you mention it...

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  4. I love tagging along on your travels! This sounds delicious!

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  5. It looks simple, rustic and so tasty at the same time :)

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  6. Oh that’s funny. It’s like hiding Christmas presents and forgetting where they are! So now you have wine on top of the fabulous memories.

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  7. I love the reddish color of the stew- can definitely see the Hungarian paprika working here! I haven't been to Italy yet but your post has inspired me to put it on my 'Bucket List.'

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    1. You really need to get to Italy, Fran! Such a magically place!

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  8. Smiling on a difficult Monday morning: are we cooking Hungarian or Italiano - or does it not matter as it is so good !!! I bet there are no regrets with this and I bet there is no wine described in the secret store room now . . .

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    1. Eha - there still is wine in there! :) and I love this combination Raffaella created mixing Italian and Hungarian traditions.

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  9. I love the sound of this, a kind of cross between a classic Italian spezzatino and goulasch... intriguing! I love both, so I bet I'd really enjoy this, even if Brunello is a bit too dear for my purse, except for special occasions. Then again, the temperatures may get above 60 later this week—now that's what I call a special occasion.

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    1. Generally, when we travel, we ignore how much things cost - it’s vacation, after all! But this time, I ignored the cots (plus shipping) and decided we were worth it!

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  10. Looks beautiful David! Ahh, forgetting you stashed something wonderful--sounds like my life!

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    1. I do love finding those hidden treasures, Inger, especially when they taste so good!

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  11. This soup has an amazing color, David and I'm sure the flavor is pretty amazing too! That's funny about your stashed and forgotten bottle of wine! Now it's your bonus bottle :)

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    1. It's always good to have a bonus bottle, Marcelle!

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  12. Oh my gosh, I love that you found a bottle of the wine already in your secret stash. fabulous! I will definitely be trying this -- it's so up my alley and Hungarian paprika is one of my favorite spices to cook with.

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    1. This is so comforting, Valentina! I do think you will love it!

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  13. David, this is one of those recipes that is elegant in its simplicity. Can't wait to try it. And will pick up a bottle of Brunello for the occasion. Hope I remember it!

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    1. I agree, Jean - and when using the best quality beef, it just melts in your mouth!

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  14. That's too funny! Glad to know I'm the only one who "stashes" things and then forgets about them! This stew looks wonderful and I'm sure you'll enjoy that Brunello without forgetting it's where you put it! :)

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    1. The sad thing is that I do this with food, too... sometimes, it is good to visit the bottom of the freezer!

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  15. A stash of a good wine is never a bad thing David :D

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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