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This Italian Zucchini Stew is loaded with fresh garden-grown zucchini, tomatoes, ground beef, potatoes and green bell pepper. Don’t forget the Parmesan cheese on top!All of the credit for today’s wonderful Italian Zucchini Stew recipe needs to go to Marguerite DiMino Buonopane, the author of one of our all-time favorite cookbooks called, “The North End Italian Cookbook.” It’s there that we found this easy and delicious ground beef and vegetable stew recipe. That cookbook – now in its sixth edition – captures the true essence of Boston’s Italian North End neighborhood with so many great, authentically-delicious Italian family recipes. It is often one of the first cookbooks we reach for any time we are looking for a new recipe to try. Zucchini Tomato Italian Sausage Soup we shared a few weeks ago. But this Italian Zucchini Stew has a completely different flavor profile – and it was so good, we had to share!
How do you make Italian Zucchini Stew?In this simple stew, bite-sized pieces of zucchini are cooked together with diced tomatoes, ground beef, slices of potato, and diced green bell pepper plus seasonings. Most of the prep is chopping the vegetables – then it all cooks up quickly in a big pot. Once cooked through, stir in grated Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef 15% fat (85/15)
1 cup onion diced
1 ½ tablespoons garlic minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 small green bell pepper diced, about one cup
2 stalks celery minced fine, about one cup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds zucchini cut into bite sized pieces, see tip in notes below
1 pound potatoes such as all purpose or new red, see tip in notes below
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Parmesan grated plus more for serving
Additional salt and pepper to taste
In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add the ground beef, onion, garlic, pepper flakes, green pepper, celery, salt and pepper and sauté until meat has browned and the vegetables almost tender.
Add zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes and water. Bring to a gentle bubble, cover and reduce heat to low to medium low and cook for ten minutes.
Remove cover and add in tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes or just until the zucchini is cooked. Do not overcook the zucchini.
Remove from heat and add the cup of Parmesan and taste for additional salt and pepper.
Serve with additional Parmesan and crusty bread.
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Cut zucchini lengthwise in half then each half in half lengthwise again to get four long quarters. Then slice the opposite way into bite sized pieces.
Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. If they are small, cut into thin slices. If they are large, cut the half in half again and then into thin slices. You want the potatoes to be thin so they take a similar time to cook as the bigger zucchini pieces.