Some of my family’s favorite dishes are the ones that are the easiest to put together and either simmer on top of the stove, such as stufato di manzo or balsamic braised chicken that bakes in the oven. These one-pot meals fill the kitchen with mouth-watering aromas that get your stomach juices flowing with anticipation of the comfort food to come.
The inspiration for this stew came from a Mother’s Day trip my son, Joe, and I took to Lake Garda, Italy. We took an excursion to the small Italian town of Renon or Ritten as it’s called in German. Named after the mountain, the community, is home to more than a dozen villages which are scattered from the lovely vineyards in the valley all the way up to the breezy altitudes of the Alpine highlands. As this municipality is very close to the Switzerland border, it comes as no surprise that the predominant language is German. And so is the food. You’ll find no pasta and sauce here. But, the beef stroganoff we enjoyed in the pure mountain air with the breathtaking view was excellent!
This richly satisfying stew, reminiscent of beef stroganoff, is made with mascarpone and creates a creamy consistency that is perfect served on a bed of pasta.
- 3 pounds beef stew meat (chuck roast), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
- Olive oil, for browning beef
- 3 onions, thickly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 8-ounces mascarpone
- Salt and pepper
- Italian parsley, for garnish
- Season the meat with salt and pepper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350*
- Using a large oven-proof saute pan, saute the onions in some of the olive oil. Once the onions begin to soften, add the garlic and saute for a minute or two. Transfer to another dish.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan and brown the meat on all sides over high heat. Do this in small batches to allow for proper browning, as overcrowding creates moisture. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat to the dish with the onions. When all the meat has browned, transfer it and the onions back to the oven-proof pan. Add the white wine and beef broth and then cover and bake 1 1/2-2 hours, until the meat is tender.
- Remove pan from oven and stir in the lemon juice and mascarpone until blended. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook pasta, drain.
- To serve, place pasta in shallow bowls and spoon the stew on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Joe enjoying the fresh Alpine air!