Braised food

Jim Dixon’s DIY dish: Italian Braised Celery

Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business, Wellspent Market. Jim has always loved to eat and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week via his newsletter. We are happy to see him again creating special dishes just for WW readers.

Italian braised celery

Celery rarely takes center stage in the kitchen, but Italian-style braising gives the humble stalks true star power. Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, this recipe omits pancetta, the unsmoked version of bacon often used as part of sofrito, the aromatic vegetables that create the flavor base of many Italian dishes. A good olive oil provides more than enough flavor, but if you’re feeling porky, add some finely chopped pancetta.

Serve it with roast meat or sausages, pile it on a mound of polenta, put a fried egg on top, or lay it on a slice of rustic toast. Add a pinch of grated Parmigiano Reggiano if desired.

6-8 celery, stalks cut into ¾ inch lengths

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons of water

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the onion and celery in extra virgin olive oil with salt and pepper over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the celery is very tender, about an hour. Check periodically and add a little water if necessary. Makes 4-6 servings.