Sedano e Pomodori Brasati (Braised Celery and Tomato)

Braised Celery and Tomato (Sedano e Pomodori Brasati)

Braised Celery and Tomato (Sedano e Pomodori Brasati)

Celery stalks' stringy fibers, often removed before cooking, here act as a brace to help the vegetable keep its shape through a long simmer. The result is a sweet and luscious side dish.Todd Coleman

This recipe, adapted from one in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), produces results that are surprising from celery: creamy, sweet, luscious. The stalks' stringy fibers, often removed before cooking, here act as a brace to help the vegetable keep its shape through a long simmer. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Lesley Porcelli's story The Soft Approach.

Sedano e Pomodori Brasati (Braised Celery and Tomato)
In this recipe, celery stalks' stringy fibers, often removed before cooking, act as a brace to help the vegetable keep its shape through a long simmer.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. pancetta, cut into 1″ matchsticks
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in half, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • 2 lb. celery stalks, trimmed and diagonally cut into 2" lenghts
  • 34 cup whole, peeled canned tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Put pancetta in a 6-qt. saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until its fat renders, about 12 minutes. (If the pancetta begins to brown too fast, reduce the heat to medium-low.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain, and set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to the pan, and return to medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and light brown, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, tomatoes, and 14 cup water, and season with salt and pepper. Cover pan with lid, and cook, stirring occasionally, until celery is very tender, about 1 12 hours.
  3. Divide the celery with its juices between serving bowls, and sprinkle with the reserved pancetta. Serve hot or at room temperature.