This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WasteNoPaste #CollectiveBias
I tend to be a bit forgetful in my life. Of course I try not to, but it doesn't always work. The worst is when I forget that I have certain (delicious) food items buried in my fridge until it's too late and they're well past their prime. I can't stand wasting food and I also don't like wasting money on items that I already have.
One major food item that I'm constantly forgetting about is tomato paste. First of all, there are those pesky cans. Most recipes I have don't call for nearly as much paste as I find in the cans. And even then, I have use a plastic container to store it (and if you know anything about my husband and I, it's that these containers are hard to come by in our home since we constantly forget them at work and lose the covers).
This situation got a little better when they started sell resealable tubes of tomato paste. But I always seem to lose track of that darn tube and I spend more money on buying a new one while the partially used tube withers away in the black-hole-that-is my refrigerator.
It's a vicious cycle. And while I know this is due, in part, to my own lack of memory and disorganization, I constantly find myself seeking out recipes that didn't include tomato paste.
Well, my friends, I am so happy and excited to share the perfect solution: NEW Hunt's Recipe Ready "Pre-measure 2TBS" Paste Pouches! That's right, you read correctly! The brilliant people over at Hunt's have come up with convenient pouches containing a perfect two tablespoon measurement of Tomato Paste.
They're super easy to open and are ready to be thrown right in with your next recipe. Gone are the days of wasted tomato paste, and I couldn't be happier about this!
I was also happy to find that these were conveniently located at my local Walmart in the aisle that has a wide variety of other Hunt's products (I affectionately refer to this at aisle as "Italy" since I can find pretty much everything I need to make a delicious Italian dinner!).
So when the opportunity to create a recipe using these amazing Paste Pouches became available, I had to jump at the chance. I mean, Hunt's is a brand I use in my kitchen quite often, so this is a natural fit! I started brainstorming a million different things I can make using tomato paste.
Now I don't know about you, but here in Rochester, we are officially in full-on fall mode. For us this means chilly weather and stick-to-your-bones meals to warm our bodies and hearts after a long day.
There is nothing like coming home to the scent of savory beef, tomatoes and vegetables cooking away. While this would normally be hard to achieve given the fact that J and I both work outside of the home, my amazing slow cooker makes this a welcome reality.
It quickly became apparent that a beef stew was on the horizon, but not just any beef stew. Being the good (half) Italian gal I am, I thought it might be fun to put a delicious Italian twist on a traditional beef stew.
During my first recipe test, I gave it a try on the stove top. The flavors were fantastic and right on target, but I couldn't seem to get that fall-apart-tenderness in the beef that we all know and love. I immediately knew that my slow cooker was the right vessel to get the texture I needed.
Now I'm someone who tends to avoid recipes the require any cooking prior to throwing your ingredients into the slow cooker. Call me lazy if you want (just don't call me late to dinner!!) but the whole set-it-and-forget it aspect of a slow cooker really appeals to me.
So if you decide to forgo the first few steps in favor of throwing everything into the slow cooker, I certainly won't hold it against you, and this stew will still be amazing!
But if you have a good fifteen minutes available, I strongly encourage you to do the little bit of cooking before throwing everything into the slow cooker because it develops the flavors and makes them even more fantastic!
Either way, when the slow cooker is done working it's magic, you will be handsomely rewarded with a savory gravy containing delicious vegetables, bits of Pancetta and the most perfectly tender beef you've ever enjoyed!
Now you've probably noticed that I didn't add potatoes into the stew like you may find in a traditional beef stew. This is not an accident. Growing up in my family, we always served our stew over boiled potatoes that we smashed with our own forks to ensure there was room in the stew for even more delicious goodies.
This would taste awesome over smashed potatoes, but I opted to serve it over creamy Polenta with melted butter and Romano cheese, for the ultimate Italian comfort. J and A enjoyed it served over egg noodles, which I also found to be super tasty. Either way, drop everything and go make this!
Slow Cooker Italian Beef Stew
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil divided
- 2 oz. of Pancetta diced small
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic pressed (or minced)
- 8 oz. of mushrooms sliced
- 1 ¼- 1/1/2 lbs. of stew beef I know stores can vary in the amounts in their packages, so I left it in a range
- 1 cup of red wine
- 4 Tbsp. of flour
- 1 14 oz. can of low sodium beef broth
- 1 Hunt's Recipe Ready "Pre-measure 2TBS" Tomato Paste Pouch
- 1 14.5 oz. can of Hunt's Diced Tomatoes
- 1 tsp. of salt + some extra for seasoning your meat and veggies
- ½ tsp. of pepper + some extra for seasoning your meat and veggies
- ½ tsp. of Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of Italian flat beans or green beans
- 1 cup of peas
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan.
- Add your Pancetta and saute, stirring frequently until nicely browned, around 3 minutes.
- Add your carrots, onions, garlic and mushrooms to the pan with the Pancetta and season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Saute for around 7 minutes until the veggies have softened, stirring periodically.
- While those are cooking, lay out your stew beef. Pat it dry and season it lightly with salt and pepper.
- Combine the beef in a bowl with your flour until well coated. Set aside.
- When the veggies and Pancetta have softened a bit, remove them from the pan (pour it into your slow cooker) and add the other Tbsp. of olive oil to the saute pan.
- Tap the excess flour off of your pieces of beef into your bowl that the beef and flour were combined in (there will be extra flour left in the bowl, save this for a later step) and place them into the hot pan. Brown them until all sides have a nice sear on them.
- Once they're nicely browned, add your wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of your pan. Let it simmer for a minute or two.
- Add the beef and wine into your slow cooker.
- Take your bowl containing the leftover flour (from the beef) and whisk in the beef broth to combine. Add this to the slow cooker along with the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, 1 tsp. of salt, ½ tsp. of pepper, the Italian seasoning and the bay leaf.
- Cover and cook on low for around 8 hours. Add your flat beans and peas for the last hour of cooking.
If you don't feel like doing extra cooking, you can always put all the ingredients (minus the oil) into the slow cooker and cook it on low for 8 hours adding the flat beans and the peas during the last hour of cooking. I encourage you to take the extra steps if you can, because it develops the flavor even more.
A brilliant readers commented below that they added 1 Tbsp. cornstarch to ⅛ cup of water and added it with the beans and peas for a thicker gravy. I thought this was such an excellent idea that I had to add a note to the recipe. Thanks Kit! 🙂
This post was sponsored by Collective Bias and it's advertiser but as always, the opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that help support this blog. For more information, please see my disclaimer.
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