Sunday, June 1, 2014

Braised Celery Stalks with Onion, Pancetta, and Tomatoes

Finally back from our wonderful trip to Italy and France and ready to start blogging again. This is one dish that I ran into a couple of times in Rome and I just had to put a good version of it into the home rotation of go-to recipes. I've always loved the flavor of celery, now I'm starting to get the idea on how to use it as the base of its own dish. This recipe is adapted from one I got from a Marcella Hazan book - never a bad place to start with Italian dishes new to me.

Sliced onion

Strip of pancetta

sliced celery

garden tomatoes

sautéing the onion slices

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion sliced into very thin half-moons
1 cup pancetta sliced into strips
1 cup vine-ripened skinned or canned whole tomatoes
1 large head of celery

Cut the stalks of the celery from the root base and lightly peel the strings from the outside. Slice the stalks cross-wise into 3 inch long pieces.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and, when hot, add the sliced onion. Cook until the onion is wilted and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the strips of pancetta.
Once the pancetta has begun to color, about 5-10 minutes, add the tomatoes and any juices, and the celery, and season with the salt and pepper. Bring the contents to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes and keep an eye on it, adding a little water if needed to keep it from drying out. Once the celery has softened considerably, remove the cover and allow the liquid to reduce to a syrup if it hasn't already then serve.

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