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Tasty Boiled Meat Recipe - Lesso All'Appetito


Though few might realize it, boiled dinner was once the commonest meat dish in Italy. In part because it can be made from cheaper cuts of elderly beef, and more importantly, because boiled meat is a byproduct of making broth, which was used almost daily in middle and upper class households, both as an ingredient in other dishes, and as a base for soups.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


  • Boiled Beef (see proportions below)
  • Pancetta
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Butter
  • Tomato sauce
  • Dried porcini mushrooms


Continuing with the introduction,
Though boiled meat with sauces is quite good, it's not the sort of thing one would want to eat every day, and many 19th century cookbooks contain recipes to help people deal with it.

Now that we have entered the bouillon era and people are better off, boiled meats are less common than they once were. However, lesso rifatto, recooked boiled meat, is still popular, and you will find it on the menus of trattorie in working class neighborhoods throughout Italy

The recipe:
To serve 4 you will need 1 1/4 pounds of boiled beef; remove it from the stockpot before it's completely cooked and place it whole in a pot in which you have already placed a minced mixture consisting of about 2 ounces of minced pancetta, a half of a small onion, and somewhat smaller volumes of carrot, and celery, dotted with a little sweet butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste as well, and set the pot on the fire. Once the onion has become translucent, sprinkle the meat with tomato sauce or some tomato paste diluted with broth, and continue cooking it until it's done. While the meat is cooking, steep a few dried mushrooms in boiling water. When the meat is done transfer it to a platter. Blend the sauce, add the soaked mushrooms to it, cut the meat into 1/4-inch slices, spoon the sauce over them, and serve.

(Serves 4.)

A wine? A light Valpolicella, or a Dolcetto.

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