What In The World Is Spezzatino??

By Published On: March 31st, 2020Categories: Meals0 Comments on What In The World Is Spezzatino??

…one of the most fabulous Sicilian dishes you will ever eat! This recipe came from my good friend, Francine D’Anna whose husband was born in Sicily. This is his families recipe and I am honored to cook it and share it with you.

The sauce is rich, flavored with onion, garlic, lots of parsley and thickened by mashing two potatoes right into the red sauce. I cooked my Spezzatino the whole time with bones from the lamb shoulder to give it extra depth of flavor. You can make this a whole lot easier on yourself by buying lamb already cut and cubed or beef or goat or rabbit. I really wanted to make this with goat, but when we arrived at the local Farmer’s Market in Sierra Vista learned the goat was still at the butcher so settled on lamb from one of my favorite ranchers, Dennis Moroney from the Sky Island/47 Ranch. He, and wife Deb, produce fabulous grass fed, anti-biotic and chemical free critters on beautiful pasture land in Cochise County, Arizona.

Here is the recipe I received from Francine…

Lots of room for interpretation…
The top portion is the recipe, hand-written by her husband’s brother, Sebastian, and she added a few details at the bottom, which she thought would help me, and they did! They have all been making this recipe for 50 years so don’t need a lot of direction, but I did! I would like, some day, to cook this with Joe and Francine.

On to the butchering…

This knife was my Dad’s, and probably
his Dad’s. It holds the most incredibly
 sharp blade and is my favorite.

First of all, when you buy lamb in the grocery store, and it is huge, you know it is not lamb, but more than 1 year old mutton or beyond. This is definitely a lamb shoulder. It’s little. I started by butterflying to best break it down.

If you don’t have the bone to saute onion and parsley
 no problem! Just saute the onions in butter, olive oil 
or other fat you have on hand.

Lamb shoulder has tons of connective tissue, muscle and other stuff that is hard to break down, but I finally got it off the bone and cut into cubes.

Now, on to the recipe…
About 1lb. meat of your choice (for 4 servings)
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6 white Potatoes, 2 for mashing into the sauce (after they are cooked) and 4 for eating with the pasta, peeled, but left whole
Large Onion, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
A big bunch of parsley
1 large can (28 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
Pasta for 4 people (I used Mostaccioli, which is like a super hearty ziti and catches lots of juices.)

Make sure your meat is dry as it will get a better sear that way.  Liberally salt the meat; about 2 tsp. Add Olive oil to a heavy bottom skillet (I like to use cast iron, but any heavy bottomed skillet is good.)  Because I had the bone from the lamb shoulder I seared the bone in a hot pan first with the olive oil first. If you don’t have a bone, just get olive oil very hot and drop your meat in to brown. When browned, remove meat and add onion, garlic and parsley. Gently saute, but do not allow to burn or brown. Remove all from pan. Reheat the pan to very hot.

Add potatoes into the very hot pan and brown on all sides. Remove potatoes.

Add can of San Marzano tomatoes, smash them up a bit. Place meat and onions back in pan and add water to cover all your ingredients. Turn heat very low and braise for 1 to 2 hours until meat is very tender. Add whole potatoes back into your pot and make sure they are drop dead done. With a fork, smash 2 of the potatoes into the sauce. This will thicken the sauce. What a wonderful flavor. Remove potatoes, and everything else chunky with a slotted spoon. Cook the pasta in the sauce  for 8-10 minutes and then return everything to the pan and drop in frozen peas and cook together for another 10-15 minutes to completely meld the flavors. Adjust seasoning and add more fresh parsley.

Top with parmesian.


Leave A Comment