There is nothing more comforting than a good sugo di spezzatino, a delicious, Tuscan Chuck Roast Stew. Perfect as a side dish but also mouthwatering when accompanied and tossed with fresh pasta all'uovo (egg noodles) such as pappardelle. Simply prepare a good soffritto, sear the meat, drench it in red wine and crushed tomatoes and slow cook the meat in the wood-fired oven. The result is pure comfort food. Let's get started.
Drizzle olive oil in a preheated skillet and sear the meat on both sides.
In a Dutch oven prepare the "soffritto". You simply stir-fry or sautée a medley of minced vegetables (usually onion, celery, carrot and garlic) in some oil such. This needs to be done slowly over 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat stirring occasionally. This process allows the rich flavors of each ingredient to come out before it is mixed with the rest of the ingredients.
Chop up the rosemary and sage until finely minced.
Transfer the seared meat and place over the soffritto.
After removing most of the fat from the frying pan, pour some of the wine in the pan to make sure to get all the reduction that is still sticking to the bottom. Pour this over the meat.
Pour the rest of the wine over the meat and add the minced rosemary and sage, the juniper seeds and hot pepper flakes.
Add the bay leaf into the pan and season with salt.
Finally it is time to add the crushed tomatoes. Top everything over with water or some broth.
Place the lid on the Dutch oven and transfer into the wood-fired oven.
This is where it will gently cook for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours at 325°F - 160°C.
Once the dish has finished cooking, carefully pull the meat apart and it is ready serve! Enjoy!