Meat and Potatoes Italian Style
Look at an Italian Menu
At any Italian restaurant you will find menus with lists of pasta dishes. Pasta with cheese sauce, pasta with tomato sauce, layered pasta, stuffed pasta and lots of chicken or seafood with pasta of all shapes and sizes.
Pasta is great, but meat and potatoes can also have an Italian accent, even if not entirely authentic in terms of traditional regional dishes of the boot-shaped country.
Here is an easy recipe to use that leftover (or planned-over) piece of cooked beef and a few potatoes in a tasty combination that includes a savory Italian-style vegetable sauce.
Basic ingredients --Two servings
- Beef steak or lean roast beef, cooked, trimmed of fat, left over from a previous meal and cut into cubes or strips --enough to serve two
- Five or six small potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled
- Two tablespoons olive oil for potatoes
- One teaspoon Italian herbs for potatoes
- Two Tablespoons finely grated Asagio cheese (or Parmesan) for potatoes
- One can of Italian style diced tomatoes with juice
- One or two small Zucchini squash
Potatoes Instead of Pasta
Cook the Potatoes
The potatoes shown here are "Yukon Gold", a small, firm, yellow potato. You could also use small red potatoes or any that you would normally boil.
Cut the scrubbed potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on size. Cook in boiling water until barely tender. Add a little salt to the water before cooking (optional). Then drain and transfer potatoes to a baking dish.
Drizzle with 2 T olive oil and stir them around a bit until oil covers the potato pieces. Sprinkle with a little Italian seasoning blend or some fresh or dried basil and oregano. Sprinkle with 2 T finely grated Asagio cheese. Put in medium (350 degree) oven while you make the sauce.
Cooking Vegetables Into Sauce
Make the Sauce
Place sliced zuchinni in a frying pan with a little water or chicken broth. You can also add a little sliced celery, onion-- even sliced mushrooms and black olives, if you like. Simmer until vegetables become tender.
Add 14 oz. of canned tomatoes with the juice to the pan. If you have have tomatoes with garlic, onion and Italian seasoning already in the can, you are ahead of the game.
If you only have plain diced tomatoes, you will want to add some crushed garlic or garlic powder and some mixed Italian seasonings. (If you make your own marinara sauce from scratch, use it of course, but this is the quick and easy method.)
Simmer down until it is a little more more 'saucy' than liquid.
Add Cooked Beef...
Add the Meat
Your lean cooked beef should be cut up onto bite size chunks or strips, according to your preference. It is also trimmed of any fat or gristle.
Added it to your vegetable sauce, turned down to a low simmer, at the last couple of minutes, since it only needs to be heated through.
Put your potatoes on the plate and ladle the vegetable-meat sauce over and around the spuds.
Add a couple of finishing touches, if desired, and enjoy. No one needs to know how easy it was.
To go with the meal...
Your basic sauce takes care of the vegetable part of this menu with the tomatoes and squash, but you may want to add a side salad, or a salad garnish to the plate.
A scoop of cottage cheese goes well with the potatoes and is a low-fat way to add some cheese. A sprig of green parsley or a sprinkle of minced parsley over the top adds a colorful complement to the red sauce, as well as some more vitamins and nutrients.
Some people may want to add crusty bread, to dip in olive oil and basalmic vinegar. A glass of red wine, would complete the meal.
"Grate" for hard cheese...
This is a quick and easy meal for leftover beef, that looks and tastes great. It came from one of those times when someone looked into a refrigerator wondering what to do with the leftover beef. Cooked ground beef, sausage or other cooked meats could also be used.
It is low in fat if you are careful about the meat. It can also be low in sodium if you are careful about what canned tomatoes or pasta sauce you use.
If you don't happen to have the zucchini squash-- other kinds of squash, mushrooms, eggplant cubes, carrots, kidney beans or other vegetables could be used. With a variety of vegetables, it could even be a great vegetarian meal.