Beef/ Gluten Free/ Italian/ Potatoes/ Uncategorized/ Vegetables

Beef Pizzaiola and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

A several years ago, a dear friend from college was coming over for dinner while he passed through on his business travels.  At this time I was trying to make a new recipe or two every week out of my cookbooks that were growing by a book a month or so it seemed.  My friend had dietary restrictions that prevented him from eating potatoes.  I knew I had to use any other starch and that  was when I first tried making polenta.  When I stumbled across the pizzaiola recipe, I felt it would be a perfect companion to the polenta I had been wanting to make. The cookbook’s pizzaiola recipe calls for tenderloin, but that was so far out of my budget that I used stewing meat.  I do not recommend this unless you plan on slow cooking the dish all day, allowing those tough portions of meat to tenderize. 

Since then, I have made this dish using all types of beef, except ground, but never tenderloin.  Most often I use sirloin and slice it thin.  After I do all the initial cooking of the dish, I often just finish it in the oven, allowing that sirloin time to become especially tender. 

As the years have gone on, I have made this dish numerous times, always with whatever I had on hand.  However always with the capers.  But I confess, I am not sure what the capers do for the dish, but add them I do! I don’t always have white wine available and have used Rosé and it’s been just fine.  I’ve never used red. I started adding bell peppers a couple of years ago and absolutely love it.   In my pantry, I always have tomato sauce in two sizes, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste…always. But rarely do I have whole, crushed, or pureed tomatoes.  I am not sure why, but they are not part of my staples.  I just work with what I have and it turns out fabulous every time. 

When I decided I wanted to make this dish for a post, I consulted the original recipe that I hadn’t looked at since the very first time I made it many years ago.  I was pleased to see I hadn’t strayed too far from the original.

I went a little happy at the market when buying garlic the other day, so I decided garlic mashed potatoes would be the perfect companion to this dish.  Ironically, it’s what the cookbook pairs it with.  So maybe my genius was just a retained memory of my first time making this dish. Either way, it was fantastic together.  More often than not, I leave my skins on when I mash my potatoes.  I like the extra nutrition, color, and texture the skins give the dish. However, it is not essential to take them off, so strip your potato bare if that is how you and your family like them best.  The amount of garlic is also up to you.  If you love garlic, add more.  If you like just a hint of garlic, use less.  Same goes for the milk, if you want your potatoes creamier, use more milk.  I wanted a more rustic feel to them, heartier, so I used less milk than I would if I was making mashed potatoes and gravy. I knew the sauce from the beef would thin them out as dinner progressed anyway, so I wanted to start with a sturdier potato. 
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Onions and peppers in the oil

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Capers and garlic added

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Beef mixed in to brown

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All sauced up

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On the fork

Beef:

¼ cup olive oil

1 red onion; julienned (about 14 oz)

2 bell peppers; julienned (about 14 oz)

3-5 cloves garlic; minced/grated

1 tbsp capers

2 lbs beef sirloin; sliced

¾ cup white or rose wine

1 can diced tomatoes

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 tbsp dried oregano

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Potatoes:

6 medium-sized russets; cleaned and cubed

4-8 cloves garlic; grated/finely minced

4 tbsp butter

¼-½ cup of milk

¼ cup Romano cheese (parmesan works too)

Salt/Pepper; to taste

Directions:

Beef:

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, add the red onions and bell peppers.  Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and capers, mix well.  Sauté until the onions are almost translucent. 

Add the beef and cook until brown, about 4 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half.  Add the tomatoes and sauce, along with the oregano, salt and pepper.  Bring to  high simmer.

Cook for about 20 minutes on the stove.  Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

OR

Cook on a high simmer for 5 minutes, cover and place in a pre-heated 250º oven for an hour or two.  Serve.

Potatoes:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  When boiling, add a generous amount of salt to the water, add the potatoes.  Cook potatoes until fork tender.  Do not overcook them. Drain them and return them to the hot pot or another bowl.  Add butter, some salt and pepper, and 4 of the garlic cloves and begin to mash them with either an electric mixer or hand-masher.  Add some milk, resume mashing.  Taste for garlic, salt and pepper.  If needed add more garlic, salt, pepper, and milk.  Add the cheese.  Mix well. 

Recipe adapted from:

Buca di Beppo: Into the Sauce! From our Cucina to Your Kitchen, Custom Publishing by Tiger Oak Publications, 2002: page 70.   

Thank you for sharing!

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