You would ordinarily think that stews are wintertime dishes. Oh, contraire! They just so happen to be outstanding during summer because they're 'one pot meals.' In udda woids, you trow everyting in one pot, cover it up, and let it smudder down. Then when you're ready to eat, you just spoon it up and feed the family. This recipe has always been one of my real favorites because it's heat and eat! And good!

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 large pork steaks, bone-in, trimmed and cut into pieces
2 lbs. beef steak or veal roast, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups onion/celery/bell pepper mirapoix
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large green bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large can tomato paste
3 tomato paste cans full of low sodium chicken broth (or bottled water)
1 can mini-diced plum tomatoes, 14.5 oz. size
bay leaves
10 cloves garlic, whole
1 cup
dry red wine
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp. Frank Davis Sicilian Seasoning
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups baby carrots
2 lbs. fresh green beans, washed and trimmed)
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour (if needed to thicken)
1 lb. mini-penne pasta, cooked al dente completely drained
8 oz. Parmesan cheese (flaked) as desired

Start off by taking a 5-quart Dutch oven or oval roaster (Magnalite works great) and placing it on the stovetop over a medium-high heat. Then pour in the olive oil, and when it just begins to show a wisp of smoke, drop in the cut pork steaks and beefsteaks (a few pieces at a time so as not to drop the temperature in the pot).

This procedure will require stirring the meat almost continuously to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Then when it becomes seared and browned all over, remove it all from the pot with a slotted spoon and place it into a bowl for the time being.

Next, with the fire turned back up under the pot (this time to 'high'), drop in the vegetable mirapoix, the garlic, the bell pepper, and the mushrooms and again constantly stirring brown the mixture in the residual olive oil until the produce wilts and softens.

Now it's time to start the 'stew' process:

1 Spoon the tomato paste out into the pot and completely combine it with the ingredients already in the pot.

2 Add the 3 cans full of chicken broth, along with the diced tomatoes, the bay leaves, the whole garlic cloves, and the cup of wine. At this point, fully and uniformly combine everything in the pot, bring the mixture to a slow boil, place the cover on, reduce the fire to low, and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes to get all the ingredients to marry.

3 Next, one item at a time, stir in the basil, parsley, green onions, Sicilian seasoning, and Worcestershire. Then return the meats to the pot and fold them uniformly into the building sauce. When the contents of the pot begin to actively 'bubble,' reduce the heat to low, cover the pot once again, and cook the stew meats and seasonings for about 1 hour. (I do caution you, however, to check the pot after about 40 minutes to make sure the meats haven't become 'fall apart tender' ahead of time)

If and when! you find that they have, then put the remainder of the stew together. Simply stir in the carrots and the green beans, cover the pot, turn the fire down to medium-low, and cook until everything in the veggies are 'fork tender.' (Caution do not overcook the meats so much that they disintegrate into nothing while waiting for the beans and carrots to get done. This is probably the most critical part of this entire recipe!)

Finally, you can whisk in a little flour in case you want the sauce slightly thicker (but if you did the recipe right it won't be needed the tomato paste will have taken care of that). All that's left now is to completely fold the pasta into the stew, cover the pot once more, give the pot 5 more minutes over a low fire to heat the pasta all the way through, and. . .

Serve right from the pot in heated soup bowls and liberally garnish with the flaked Parmesan cheese. With a tossed green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a loaf of hot, authentic, seeded Italian bread, you got a meal fit for Sicilian royalty!


Chef's Notes:

You can add sea salt and fresh ground black pepper according to your taste, but don't add it until you've tasted the stew for salt which has been included in the chicken broth and cheese.

The beef you use can be either a ribeye, fillet mignon, chuck steak, tri-tip, top-round, flank steak, or even plain ol' prepackaged stew meat. Most often the type is chosen based on which cut is on sale at the butcher's. If you do opt for the leaner tougher cuts, though, just remember you'll have to cook them longer to make them tender.

As an option, instead of serving this stew with pasta, peel about a dozen or so small, red, B-size creamer potatoes and smother them down whole along with the rest of the stew ingredients.

By the way, Contadina Diced Tomatoes with Italian Herbs works really well in this recipe.