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Friday 13 March 2015

Italian Style Braised Celery With Onion, Pancetta and Tomatoes

Marcella Hazan's Braised Celery with Onion, Pancetta, and Tomatoes
Isn't celery wonderful, so nice, tasty and refreshing. It's something our grandchildren love to eat too, and as a snack they crunch away on a piece of crisp celery stick - perhaps with some delicious cheese. But do you sometimes find you have a bundle of celery left in the back of your crisper drawer....... it does happen sometimes! If you have some, this is what you should do with it, and you can even make this when your celery is starting to wither a little, and bends a bit too much to be shaved into salads. 

Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds celery
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions sliced very thin
2/3 cup pancetta, cut into thin strips
3/4 cup canned plum tomatoes, chopped coarse, with their juice
Freshly ground black pepper

1.Cut off the celery's leafy tops, saving the leaves for another use, and detach all the stalks from their base. Use a peeler to pare away most of the strings, and cut the stalks into pieces about 3 inches long (cutting on a diagonal looks nice). Alternately, if you plan on cooking long past tender (an hour or more), you can skip peeling the strings.
2.Put the oil and onion in a saute pan, and turn on the heat to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it wilts completely and becomes colored a light gold, then add the pancetta strips.
3.After a few minutes, when the pancetta's fat loses its flat, white uncooked color and becomes translucent, add the tomatoes with their juice, the celery, salt, and pepper, and toss thoroughly to coat well. Adjust heat to cook at a steady simmer, and put a cover on the pan. After 15 minutes check the celery, cooking it until it feels tender when prodded with a fork. The longer you cook them, the softer and sweeter they will become. If while the celery is cooking, the pan juices become insufficient, replenish with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water or juice from the canned tomatoes as needed. If on the contrary, when the celery is done, the pan juices are watery, uncover, raise the heat to high, and boil the juices away rapidly.

But what to eat with with your pile of soft, sweet celery? A juicy roast chicken, lamb, or a pork chop ..... perhaps just enjoy it on it's own - it's your choice.

With thanks to Marcella Hazan for the original recipe idea here

All the best Jan


Anonymous said...

Looks lovely Jan, thanks.

Jenny S

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Jenny, and thanks for your comment. This is a great way to cook celery and does go well with 'roast' type dinners.

Well I think so ......

All the best Jan