I discovered scottiglia thanks to a recipe book by Québec cook Stefano Faita, Entre cuisine et quincaillerie (translation: Between hardware store and kitchen). The Faitas own Dante Hardware Store, one of Montreal’s quaintest establishments, where clients can find trendy European cookware, hunting rifles…but no hardware knickknacks, despite the name.
Scottiglia is a Tuscan-style stew combining whatever meat or game comes handy with vegetables, red wine and herbs. I have adapted it for this version made with rabbit and sausage, both very popular with kids—as long as they think they are eating chicken, not Bugs Bunny.
With time, I have come to use the basic recipe for many of my winter stews, switching meat, vegetables and spices but with two constants: for liquid, I always use a large can of San Marzano tomatoes squashed by hand and 1/2 bottle of dry red wine. Cover, simmer 2 hours and enjoy. You’d have to try very hard to screw this one up.
If, like me, you buy great big chunks of Parmesan, just freeze the crust until it’s time for your next scottiglia or minestrone.
Heresy (?), I like to add green olives to my scottiglia for that touch of vinegar. Also my son is crazy about olives, so mama obliges.
You don’t say?
Since scottiglia is cooked using meat and herbs you find in the fridge, no two scottiglia are alike from one time to the next or, according to experts, one Italian village to the next either. Some constants remain: you should use at least two different meat, adding them to the stew according to their cooking time; you should mix broth and red wine; and you should serve it with toasted bread, rubbed with garlic or not. Rustic Italy at its best. How about that.
4 to 6 servings
• 60 ml (4 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
• 1.5 kilos (3 lbs) choice of meat: rabbit, lamb shanks, Italian sausages, pork chops, chicken drumsticks…. (I used a rabbit cut into eights and 3 fennel sausages)
• 4 roughly chopped garlic cloves
• 2 diced carrots or 1 red bell pepper
• 1 chopped large onion
• 1 large can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
• 1/2 bottle dry red wine
• 2 stalks thyme or rosemary
• 1 Parmesan crust (optional)
• 1 small handful green or black olives, stuffed or not
• salt and pepper
1. Heat oil in a large pot with cover, brown meat. Avoid overcrowding meat or it will boil instead of brown, so proceed by batches if necessary. Remove meat.
2. In cooking fat (add oil if needed), cook garlic and vegetables without browning. Return meat to pot, pour over tomatoes and wine. Add thyme, Parmesan and olives. Season to taste.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer at least 2 hours or until meat detaches from bone. Check from time to time that stew does not stick to pot.
4. Serve with toasted bread Tuscan-style (or over pasta for your noodle-loving munchkin).