This is an old Italian dish that can be prepared with beef, (no peas or mushrooms) and marinara sauce to make a Bolognese meat sauce for pasta. Another generic name for this sauce in Italy is Ragu. Another option is to replace the peas with red peppers or any combination thereof for a great pasta sauce


  • 2 lbs. boneless veal stew meat cut against the grain into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 oz. olive oil
  • 2 coarsely chopped onions
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 bay leaf crushed in small pieces
  • small handful of flat chopped parsley,
  • small handful of fresh basil
  • 1/2 lb. fresh sliced mushrooms 2 cans of straw.
  • 1 cup of dry white wine and remember, no not cook with any wine you wouldn't drink.
  • 1 lb. of frozen peas defrosted or 2 cans
  • 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups of beef stock or commercial beef base deluded to soup consistency
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a large pot with a heavy bottom heat the oil to med./high, add the veal and brown lightly. Add the onion, the bay leaf S&P to taste, half of the garlic, some beef stock and cook covered until the onion is translucent. Add the wine and let it reduce. Add the tomatoes, more beef stock, cover and cook over low heat for about 1-2 hours until the meat just about melts in your mouth. Add the remaining garlic and parsley, basil, the peas, mushrooms and whatever else you think it needs. If you want, thicken as required (your own method of use a Rue.). Remove from heat after a few minutes and serve.

Buona Appetito, VINCENZO

SPEZZATINO in Italy is similar to what you would know as a stew. For the most part if you ordered this dish in an authentic small Italian restaurant here in the Northeast, this is more than likely what you would be served. It would be a veal stew containing pieces of veal stew meat with peas and mushrooms in a brownish red sauce. However, in the old country, you can find a wide variety of combinations. And, it can be cooked on the stove or the oven in a casserole dish, an earthenware pot or just a heavy bottom pan. I remember many years ago, a veal and peas dish would be served at Italian weddings between the pasta dish and the main course but you don't see it anymore.

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Submitted 3/28/06.