Pezzetti di Vitello (Leccese Beef Stew)


  • Chuck roast (cappello di prete)
  • 1 Onion 
  • 1 Carrot 
  • 1 rib of Celery
  • A small handful of Parsley
  • A tablespoon of  Whole Peppercorns
  • A teaspoon of Whole Cloves 
  • A couple Bay Leaves
  • A couple leaves of Sage 
  • A sprig of Rosemary 
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Crushed red peppers (to taste)


  1. Take a large pot and boil the piece of meat with plenty of water. As the meat comes to a boil, it must be skimmed. With a spoon you remove the black foam that forms on the surface, when the foam becomes clear again at add all other the vegetables, herbs and spices and let the meat boil for an hour, (longer if the meat is huge) together with veggies, herbs and spices.
  2. At this point, prepare the sauce as you would for pasta, it must be a little spicy. When you need to add water to the sauce to thin it out it must always be the water in which the meat, veggies and spices were boiled. The sauce must be thin.
  3. Once the meat has boiled remove it rom the water and let it cool. After it has cooled a little, cut it into slices of about 1 or 1 and ½ centimeters. 
  4. Take a nice pan, put two ladles of sauce and adjust the first layer of meat on top, put more sauce, a little pepper and a little nutmeg and proceed in layers until you finish the meat (if the slices of meat are very large can be divided in two), once finished, cover with the sauce remainder of the sauce and if needed always add the boiling water of the meat and nothing else.
  5. This proceeds until cooked (I think that if the meat is tender it will take about a half hour to finish.  For tougher meat maybe an hour.)

A kiss and good appetite, mamma




This recipe is a direct translation of my mother-in-law’s hand written recipe to me.  As always there are not many specifics as to measurements and times.  I did the best I could measuring what we use.  This is traditionally a spicy dish but if you don't like heat leave out the spice. We usually eat this with a great pita like bread for sandwiches and sopping up the delicious sauce. Just use your heart and your instinct and don't hesitate to ask questions if this is too vague. Happy cooking and Buon Appetito


I made this and it was to die for. I’ll be making it again and again!…that sauce!!!!

Kathryn Swanson January 25, 2021

I will be making this pronto!

Ashley January 13, 2021

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