As you might expect, the recipe goes a long way back -- the Imprunetani began making terracotta centuries before Brunelleschi came looking for roof tiles for Florence's Cathedral in the 1400s -- and though there are many published versions, purists are quick to point out that true Peposo is made without olive oil, and consequently without the soffritto (a mixture of sautéed herbs) one generally encounters in Italian stews.
Tomato? "Before the discovery of the Americas Peposo was made without," Chef Cristoforo told me during a cooking demonstration held in Impruneta's Albergo Ristorante Bellavista. Imprunetani do use tomato now, but not as much as cooks from other parts of Tuscany who have begun to copy the recipe.
Wine? Yes, but it's added at the end.
The Albergo Ristorante Bellavista's Peposo has won the two Impruneta Restaurant Peposo Cookoffs held to date. To make their recipe for 10-12 you'll need:
- 4 1/2 pounds (2 k) stew beef, including some gristle
- The cloves from a head of garlic, peeled and left whole
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) or more, to taste, freshly ground pepper
- 1 quart (1 liter) thick tomato sauce
- Coarse sea salt to taste
- 1 bottle (750 ml) Chianti or similar dry red wine