Goulash Triestino with mashed potatoes

Source: Lidia’s Italy

With life calming down a bit, I’m hitting the kitchen again. I decided to delve into a cookbook that I haven’t yet explored much: Lidia’s Italy, where celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich shares traditional recipes from all regions of Italy.

This first recipe is from Trieste in the far north-east corner of Italy bordering on Slovenia. This area has a long history as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and many dishes are more inspired by middle-European influences than Italian influences. The example in this dish is the use of paprika, which is rare or unseen in Italian cooking.

This is a lovely rich beef goulash that is quintessential comfort food.

Like any great stew, it does need about 2 hours of cooking time, then a bit more time to sit and meld, but it’s a very simple recipe. Prep doesn’t require anything more than coarsely chopping onions into large wedges, cutting the beef chuck into large 1 1/2-inch chunks and measuring out a few spices. Then things essentially go into a pot to stew. After cooking the onions and beef for an hour, you create a basic sauce by whisking together water, flour and tomato paste, bringing it to a boil, then adding it to the onion and beef, and letting it simmer for another 45 minutes.

Lidia’s recipe suggests serving with mashed potatoes (the Middle European style), polenta or fettuccine (Italian style) or steamed rice. I’m a sucker for mashed potatoes (made with a potato ricer), so that’s what I opted for.

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