Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Several years ago, Chris and I took a dream trip to Italy. We visited the churches and markets and museums of Firenze, roamed the countryside of Toscana, and we loitered in the cafes of Venezia. It was a magnificent vacation, and one we will treasure forever.

I always think a good way to remember a place is by its food. In Tuscany, we stayed in a little bed and breakfast just outside of Castellina in Chianti. The town is surrounded by olive groves and wineries and is just breathtakingly beautiful. One afternoon, we stopped in a little roadside restaurant and had a superb meal. (We ended up having dinner there the next night, too!)

I can't remember all of it, but I know I had a wonderful asparagus gratin and a rich, peppery beef stew called Peposo. The dish was so simple and delicious. When we returned home, I looked up the recipe, but I never took the time to make it. Last week, I finally got around to it, and we were not disappointed. It was just as we remembered, and we sat over our meal sharing memories of our trip.

2 lbs beef, cubed for stew
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp sea salt
1 scant Tbsp black peppercorns
1 bottle (750 ml) decent red wine

Crack the peppercorns in a mortar. Put the beef, garlic, salt, and cracked pepper in a large pot. Pour the wine over the meat, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about three hours.

I don't have a mortar and pestle, so I just put the peppercorns in a sandwich bag and smashed them a bit with a rolling pin. Oh, and I used Chianti for the wine, since that's more authentic for the region. I also took the lazy route, and cooked this in a crockpot for five hours, then finished it in the oven for about an hour.

I remembered the sauce being thicker, so I added a tablespoon of cornstarch to about 1/4 cup of water and whisked until it was smooth. Then I removed a bit of the sauce from the pot, added the cornstarch, and poured it all back into the pot.

This dish has a strong flavor, so something simple like Little Stars and a vegetable would round out the meal nicely.


Lisa hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace. Visit her for more yummy recipes!


lana said...

What a lovely story you have of Italy. I dream of going there one day.

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Oh, I am jealous of the trip to Italy. What a blessing for you and your husband. Thanks for the recipe. So glad to have you partcipate, each week for TMTT.

Prasti said...

sounds delicious. i wonder how you make the asparagus au gratin....any suggestions? those 2 dishes would make a great pair :)

Momma said...

that looks soooo good! food in Italy was so delicious! i wish I could go back!

Heather said...

You keep posting these recipies and one Wednesday morning the doorbell is going to ring. It will be me...


Shari Baby said...

ok i seriously need to start trying these recipes that you put on your blog.

ps. tell chris he needs to start his own blog! haha. i'd love to hear his inside thoughts. =)

Shari Baby said...

oh and i hope you know heather because that's kind of creepy. haha.