Italian Braised Beef Stew with Penne

I created this recipe at the request of our registered dietitian, Meghan. After talking with clients who need to adhere to a low-sodium diet, and doing presentations in the community about heart-healthy eating, she wanted some examples of how to build flavor in a recipe without adding salt. This dish is a prime example. Sauteing all the vegetables and beef together in one pot and allowing the stew to simmer for a while allows the flavors to build, and stirring in fresh herbs and lemon juice at the end brings everything together without adding any salt.

Italian Braised Beef Stew with Penne
Serves 6-8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil blend
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cubed
  • 5 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil, dry
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dry
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, canned
  • 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce, canned
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 6 cups beef broth (low sodium)
  • 1/2 pound penne noodles
  • 1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place a large soup pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil blend, then add the onions and carrots and saute for 1 minute. Add the beef, celery, and bell peppers and continue sauteing for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the basil, oregano, and garlic, then add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red wine, and beef broth.

Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, then check the beef for tenderness. If needed, let it cook for another 30 minutes. When the beef is tender, add the penne noodles and cook for another 15 minutes or so, or until the noodles are cooked all the way through. Remove from heat and fold in the chopped parsley, black pepper, and lemon juice. Enjoy!

Chef Brandon FosterBrandon Foster began his life in the kitchen at the Best Western in Frisco, Colorado, almost 18 years ago. His passion for ingredients and drive to learn technique led him down the mountain to Denver, where he worked in two of Denver’s most fondly remembered restaurants, The Fourth Story and Mel’s. He joined the crew at Vesta in 2005 as a line cook and became executive chef in 2010, focusing on getting back to the roots of cooking through charcuterie and seasonal ingredients. Ultimately, Chef Brandon’s career highlights centered on events like Plates for the Peak, Invest in Kids, and James Beard Foundation dinners where he could play a role in helping people in need- a passion that led him to Project Angel Heart in 2016. Outside the kitchen, Chef Brandon enjoys spending time skiing, camping, golfing, and eating with his wife Larissa and their three kids.