Let Italy inspire your dinner with this Sicilian Beef Ragout

Photo by Sean Gasser

In this recipe from Eliza Restaurant’s inaugural Farm to Menu BREADA Benefit Dinner featured in our January issue, Mediterranean ingredients join Southern sensibility in a savory beef dish accompanied by stone-ground grits. There, Eliza chef Russell Davis broke down how to recreate the dish yourself—including the proper way to serve it up. Keep scrolling to see for yourself.


6 tomatoes, cut into wedges
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 tsp. salt, divided
2 tsp. black pepper
4 sprigs thyme
3 lb. stew meat, cut into 1-in. cubes
½ cup fennel bulb, diced
½ cup onion, diced
1 large shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. flour
10 Castelvetrano olives
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ cups full red wine
½ cup beef stock
2 branches rosemary
In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with 2 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper and leaves of thyme branches. Lay out tomatoes on a sheet pan, skin side down.
Heat remaining oil to medium-high in an ovenproof pan, and sear stew meat, turning once. Cook in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Remove meat to a bowl and turn heat down to medium. Add fennel, onion, shallot, garlic and remaining salt and pepper. Sauté until lightly browned. Add flour and stir until fully dissolved. Add olives, pepper flakes and wine. Stir and cook for 2 minutes to evaporate alcohol. Add stock, meat and any juices accumulated in bowl to pot. Lay rosemary branches on top of meat, cover pot, and cook in a 300-degree oven for 2 to 3 hours, until meat is very tender. Carefully remove pot from oven, taste and adjust seasonings. (Note: It’s best to cook the ragout a day or two in advance and reheat to serve.) Cook tomatoes at the same temperature for 2 hours.

Parmesan Stone Ground Grits:

4 cups water
1 cup stone ground grits
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
In a pot, heat water to a boil and whisk in grits and salt. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Cover pot, turn heat off and allow grits to sit for an additional 20 minutes. Blend in butter and cheese.

To serve:

Spoon a large scoop of grits into one side of a pasta bowl. Ladle the ragout into the other side, making sure to scoop an even amount of meat, vegetables and sauce. Garnish the meat ragout with 2 to 3 tomato wedges and serve.

Columnist Aimee Broussard writes more about the event and its homegrown ingredients in this story from our January issue.