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’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
Italian-Style Braised Celery
Celery rarely gets top billing in the kitchen, but braising it Italian-style gives the humble stalks real star power. Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, this recipe omits pancetta, the unsmoked version of bacon often used as part of the sofrito, the aromatic vegetables that create the flavor base of many Italian dishes. Good olive oil provides more than enough flavor, but if you’re feeling porky, add a little finely chopped pancetta.
Serve this alongside roasted meat or sausage, pile onto a mound of polenta, put a fried egg on top, or spoon over a slice of rustic grilled bread. Add a sprinkle of grated Parmigiano Reggiano if you like.
6-8 celery stalks cut into ¾-inch lengths
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion and celery in the extra virgin olive oil with salt and pepper over medium for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the celery is very tender, about an hour. Check periodically and add a little water if needed. Makes 4-6 servings.