Thursday, 18 March 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Italian Style Beef Stew

I had some really nice chuck steak in the freezer and the other night I wanted to use it up, but I felt like eating Italian food so I used some of the flavours I remember from our visits to Italy. It turned out really well and I was very pleased as it is an easy, nutritious and economical midweek meal. It serves three to four hungry adults, and leftovers can be cooled and stored in the fridge for a couple of days, or frozen if you prefer.

I use my large shallow Le Creuset casserole for this recipe. If you have not got a large casserole that will go from stove top to oven, do the first steps in a frying pan and then transfer the browned beef and onions to an oven-safe casserole before adding the remaining ingredients.

2 – 3 tablespoons mild olive, sunflower or Canola oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic (optional)
1 pound of beef chuck, cut in cubes
½ cup flour
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups plain tomato sauce
or 2 small cans of chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
3 to 4 tablespoons basil pesto
1½ to 2 cups uncooked macaroni

In a large casserole that will go from stove top into the oven, gently fry the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until it is beginning to soften. Dredge the chunks of beef in the flour and brown them, stirring frequently, along with the onion in the oil. (You may need to add another tablespoon of oil at this point.)

Add the tomato sauce or cans of chopped tomatoes, beef stock and the basil pesto and stir through well. Stir in the carrots. If you are using garlic, grate the cloves into the stew at this point and stir.

Cook in the oven at 350℉ (or 160 to 170℃ for an hour and a half, stirring every half hour.

If the liquid has reduced a lot, boil about a cup or two of water in a kettle and stir it in at this point as you are going to cook the macaroni in the sauce. (Careful not to overfill the casserole as the macaroni will displace the water when it goes in!) Add the macaroni, stir through and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the macaroni is tender.

Serve with hot crusty rolls.


  1. Each dish sounds wonderful. The way you've mixed flavors is impressive.

  2. Thank you! This dish is certainly one of my family's favourites.


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