This delicious Slow Cooker Italian Beef Stew or Spezzatino di Manzo is everything you want in a hearty, comforting meal with huge depth of flavor. It is a deliciously slow simmered dish that's wonderful for weekend family dinners. Everyone is sure to love its incredibly rich flavor.
When the temperatures start to drop, the best way to warm up is with a hearty bowl of beef stew. Our favorite way to make beef stew is in the slow cooker. It simmers low and slow and the enticing aroma fills your house all day long.
This Mediterranean beef stew has a rich tomato and wine based sauce filled with vegetables. It is one of the best ways to get such tender and delicious beef with a sauce filled with depth of flavor from a slow simmer.
It does take some time to make this Italian stew recipe, but it is totally worth the wait. And best part is, you let your slow cooker do most of the work. It is the perfect dish to make on a quiet weekend morning.
Originally published September 23, 2019 and updated on September 2023. I have been using my trusty slow cooker for weeks...dreaming of cooler temps. I thought you would enjoy one of our family favorites!
After a long day at work, come home to comforting aroma of an amazing, slow-cooked dinner. If you are looking for a beef soup, you have to try this Hungarian version (SO GOOD!). Another comforting dish is our Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (totally vegan and super hearty!).
A simply lovely dish to make when you have company coming over. You could prep the stew early in the day and it will simmer until dinner time. When your guests arrive they will be greeted with the delicious aroma of this wonderful dinner. As soon as it's ready, if you're following Whole30, Paleo, Keto... simply serve it with cauliflower rice.
Following Paleo and Whole30... you could serve with mashed potatoes (only sweet potatoes, if you're Paleo) Gluten-free: serve with mashed potatoes (white or sweet) or polenta. It's even perfect with a lovely tossed salad. If you're not following any special diet, serve with really great crusty Italian bread and your favorite pasta! A rustic and simple meal that does not disappoint in rich flavor.
Why you will love this spezzatino di manzo?
Unparalleled Taste: The fusion of traditional Italian ingredients provides an unparalleled deep and rich flavor that you're bound to fall in love with.
2. Easy to Prepare: Though it takes some time, the real beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. With a slow cooker on hand, you can let the appliance do all the work while you sit back and relax.
3. Dietary-Friendly: This recipe is a dream come true for those on Whole30, Paleo or Keto diets. It's also perfect for anyone avoiding gluten and sugar.
4. Family Favorite: Its hearty and comforting taste makes it an instant family favorite. It's perfect for weekend family dinners or any get-together.
5. Healthy and Nutritious: Apart from being incredibly tasty, this Italian Beef Stew is packed with nutrition. It's a well-balanced meal that can help you stay healthy.
What ingredients are in a slow cooker Italian beef stew?
Here is what you will need to make this flavorful stew:
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper -- To taste and enhance the flavor.
- Sea Salt -- Used for seasoning and to bring out the flavor of the ingredients.
- Bay Leaves -- To give the stew a distinctive flavor and scent.
- Fresh Rosemary -- For a distinct, aromatic flavor.
- Tomato Sauce -- To provide the base of the stew and add depth of flavor.
- Dry Red Wine -- To deglaze the pan and add richness to the stew.
- Dried Rosemary and Sage -- For additional, concentrated flavor.
- Celery -- To add a bit of crunch and freshness.
- Carrots -- For a sweet flavor and added nutrition.
- Onion (chopped) -- For flavor base and aroma.
- Beef Stewing Meat -- The protein of the dish, providing a hearty texture.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil -- Used for browning the meat and sautéing vegetables, it also adds a subtle flavor.
- Vegetarian Option: Replace the beef stewing meat with a plant-based meat substitute or hearty vegetables like mushroom or eggplant for a vegetarian version of this dish.
- Different Meats: Instead of beef, you can use chicken, pork, or even lamb to change the flavor profile of the stew.
- Wine Substitutes: If you prefer not to use wine, you can substitute it with beef broth, tomato juice, or even a non-alcoholic red wine.
- Herb Variations: Feel free to play around with the herbs used in this recipe. Thyme, oregano or marjoram could be lovely additions.
- Vegetable Variations: This recipe is versatile enough to accommodate any vegetables you have on hand. Consider adding potatoes, green beans, bell peppers or even spinach for added nutrition and flavor.
How do you make the best Italian beef stew?
First thing to do is prep all your ingredients to make this delightful stew. I used a nice dry red Italian wine. Use a wine you would actually drink. The carrots and celery are cut in large chunks. I broke up my San Marzano tomatoes with a fork. You could also puree them.
The slow cooker makes this classic Italian beef stew very easy to pull together.
The next thing you'll be doing is browning the beef cubes and sweating the celery, onion and carrot. Next, you add in your red wine and seasonings. *IF you aren't Whole30 or Keto, and following a Paleo/gluten-free diet, you could use a grain-free/Paleo friendly flour to thicken the sauce.
Simply toss the beef in 1-2 tablespoons of the grain-free flour. Shake off any excess before adding to the hot skillet to brown.
After that, you add the meat and vegetables into the slow cooker.
Pour the tomato sauce on top and then let the slow cooker do its magic.
After 8 hours, the meat becomes so tender and you will have a delicious, and hearty meal.
Slow Cooker vs Dutch Oven
One of the best ways to make a delicious beef stew is to make it in a slow cooker. You may have yours hidden in the cabinet waiting for fall. This is the time of year to take it out and whip up comforting fall dishes any day of the week. Without spending hours in the kitchen, let the slow cooker do the work for you!
If you are using a Dutch oven instead of the slow cooker, you have to check on it more often and stir it. If you're using the Dutch oven, simmer the stew over low heat on the stove top for 2 1/2-3 hours. You will still get great results in the depth of flavor.
As with most stews, this tastes even better the next day! Make a large portion and the next day enjoy the leftovers.
The secret to a good stew is to cook it slowly over low heat so that the flavors have time to develop. Another important tip is to use fresh ingredients - both for the best flavor and for safety reasons.
When it comes to choosing the right cuts of meat, go for ones that are tender and have some fat content, as this will also help to create a richer and more flavorful stew. Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices - they can really make a dish sing!
You can put raw beef in a slow cooker, but it will not cook as evenly that way. It is better to brown the beef first in a pan on the stovetop before adding it to the slow cooker. This will help it to cook more evenly and prevent it from drying out.
There are a few things you can do to make your beef stew more flavorful. One is to brown the beef before adding it to the stew. This will give it a richer flavor. Another is to add some aromatic vegetables such as onions, garlic, and carrots to the mix. Finally, don't forget to season your stew with salt and pepper to taste.
A Spezzatino is the Italian term for stew. It's a hearty, slow-cooked dish typically made up of tender chunks of meat and a variety of vegetables. Like most stews, a Spezzatino is characterized by its rich, comforting flavors and often includes a variety of herbs and spices for enhanced depth of flavor.
One of the secrets to achieving tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef in your stew is slow-cooking. Using a slow cooker allows the tough fibers in the meat to break down over time, resulting in tender chunks of beef. It's also crucial to choose the right cut of meat. Stew meat, chuck roast, or any other cut with plenty of connective tissue works best.
Beef stew meat and chuck roast are both great for making beef stew. While they may seem similar, they have some key differences. Beef stew meat is a mix of cuts like chuck, round, and brisket. On the other hand, chuck roast is a specific cut from the shoulder, usually more marbled with fat for a richer flavor.
For the most tender beef stew, choosing the right cut is key. Chuck roast, often labeled as stew meat, is the best choice because of its marbling of fat and connective tissue. This marbling breaks down during the slow cooking process, leading to tender, flavorful meat. Another good option is the shoulder or pot roast. However, avoid lean cuts like the round or sirloin, as they tend to become tough when cooked for long periods.
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Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I’m always so eager to hear from you and hope you love this beef stew.
Some other slow cooker recipes:
Originally posted September 2, 2020 and republished September 8, 2021
Italian Stew Recipe (Spezzatino di Manzo)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 pounds beef stewing meat in chunks
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 large carrots peeled ends trimmed and cut into chunks
- 4 large celery sticks trimmed and thickly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups tomato sauce I used San Marzano tomatoes puréed (you can use a fork to break them up or pulse in food processor)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- Black pepper to taste
- MEAT AND VEGGIES
- Heat the oil in a large and deep skillet (I used a large cast iron skilleover medium-high heat. When the oil is heated up, place the beef into the hot pan. Brown beef until all sides have a nice sear on them (do not stir too much as the beef will not sear properly). Add in the onions, carrots and celery (do not stir too much, or the beef will not brown properly). Toss in the dried herbs, if using.
- Pour the red wine into the pan, scratching the browned bits off the bottom. Add the salt and pepper. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Remove to a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
- SLOW COOKER
- Carefully transfer to a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Add the tomato sauce on top of the meat and veggies. Add in the bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Stir it all gently together to make sure the sauce goes to the bottom of the meat and veggies.
- Cook the stew on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours. Adjust seasoning as needed. Either finish cooking with the lid open (if you want a thicker stew)or keep lid closed if you want it soupier. Before serving, discard the bay leaves and rosemary sprig.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.