Pastissada De Caval : Discover the Irresistible Power of Traditional Venetian Cuisine

Pastissada De Caval is a traditional Italian dish made with braised horse meat and served with polenta or pasta. This dish originated in the Veneto region of Italy and is known for its rich, savory flavors and tender, slow-cooked meat.

The use of horse meat in the dish reflects the historical significance of horses in the region’s agriculture and transportation. Pastissada De Caval is a unique and culturally significant dish that has been enjoyed for generations in the Veneto region and beyond.

The dish’s robust flavors and tender meat make it a beloved and traditional part of Italian cuisine, offering a taste of history and tradition with each savory bite.

Pastissada De Caval

Unveiling Pastissada De Caval

Pastissada De Caval, also known as ‘Pastissada de Cavallo’, is a traditional Venetian dish that holds a significant place in the culinary heritage of Italy. This hearty and flavorsome horse meat stew has been a staple in Venetian cuisine for centuries, representing a fusion of robust flavors and cultural significance. Unveiling the essence of Pastissada De Caval, let’s delve into its origins, cultural importance, key ingredients, and cooking techniques that define this revered Venetian delicacy.

Origins And Cultural Importance

The origins of Pastissada De Caval can be traced back to the historical significance of Veneto, a region in northeastern Italy. This venerable dish reflects the culinary traditions of the Venetian countryside, where it has been celebrated as a symbol of resilience and resourcefulness. Historically, horse meat was a readily available protein source for Venetian peasants and farmers, leading to the development of this flavorsome stew as a testament to inventive and practical cooking.

Key Ingredients And Cooking Techniques

The key ingredients that define Pastissada De Caval include horse meat (typically from the shoulder or rump), red wine, garlic, onions, carrots, extra virgin olive oil, tomato paste, flour, bay leaves, and a blend of aromatic herbs. The preparation of this dish involves marinating the horse meat in red wine and vinegar, infusing it with bold flavors before it is slowly simmered to tender perfection.

A Taste Of History

Tracing The Evolution Of Pastissada De Caval

Historically rich and deeply rooted in the Venetian culture, Pastissada De Caval is a traditional Italian dish that embodies centuries of culinary heritage. The evolution of this savory delight can be traced back to the time of the Venetian Republic, where it was an essential part of the region’s gastronomic tapestry.

Traditional Customs And Rituals Associated With The Dish

The preparation of Pastissada De Caval is steeped in age-old customs and rituals, ensuring a truly authentic culinary experience. From the careful selection of ingredients to the meticulous slow-cooking process, each step embodies the traditions and values cherished by generations of Venetian families.

Pastissada De Caval

Preparing The Perfect Pastissada

Step-by-step guide to cooking Pastissada De Caval:

Step 1: Gather The Ingredients

To make an authentic and delicious Pastissada De Caval, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 kg of horse meat, preferably a cut like shoulder or rump
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bottle of full-bodied red wine
  • 200 ml of olive oil
  • 500 ml of beef or veal broth
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 2: Marinate The Horse Meat

In a large bowl, combine the horse meat, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and red wine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 24 hours. This will help tenderize the meat and infuse it with the flavors of the marinade.

Step 3: Sear The Horse Meat

Remove the horse meat from the marinade, reserving the marinade for later use. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the horse meat to the pot and sear it on all sides until browned. This step helps to develop a rich flavor in the dish.

Step 4: Prepare The Sauce

Once the horse meat is browned, remove it from the pot and set it aside. In the same pot, add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Cook them until softened and lightly browned. Then, add the minced garlic and tomato paste, and cook for another minute.

Step 5: Cook The Horse Meat

Return the horse meat to the pot and pour in the reserved marinade and beef or veal broth. Add the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

Step 6: Serve And Garnish

Once the horse meat is cooked to perfection, remove it from the pot and slice it into thin pieces. Arrange the meat on a serving platter and drizzle with the sauce. Finally, sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley as a garnish. Serve this hearty dish with polenta or mashed potatoes.

  • Choose quality horse meat: When preparing Pastissada De Caval, it is crucial to select high-quality horse meat from a reputable source. This will ensure a tender and flavorful result.
  • Marinate for maximum flavor: Allowing the horse meat to marinate for at least 24 hours will enhance its taste and tenderness.
  • Sear the meat for richness: Taking the time to brown the horse meat before cooking it in the sauce will create a deep, rich flavor profile.
  • Use a full-bodied red wine: The choice of wine is important, as it contributes to the overall taste of the dish. Choose a robust red wine that complements the flavors of the meat.
  • Simmer patiently: Cooking the horse meat low and slow will result in tender, succulent meat that melts in your mouth.
  • Don’t forget the garnish: Adding a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley not only adds a pop of color but also enhances the aroma and freshness of the dish.

Pastissada De Caval

Serving Suggestions And Pairings

When it comes to enjoying the rich flavors of Pastissada De Caval, it’s all about finding the perfect accompaniments. The right pairing can enhance the taste experience, complementing the robustness of the dish. Here are some recommended options to serve alongside this traditional Italian delicacy.

Recommended Accompaniments For Pastissada De Caval

Here are a few suggestions to elevate your Pastissada De Caval experience:

  • Polenta: The creamy consistency and mild flavor of polenta make it an ideal partner for the bold, meaty flavor of Pastissada De Caval. Its subtle taste allows the rich sauce to shine.
  • Gnocchi: These soft, pillowy potato dumplings are perfect for soaking up every drop of the flavorful sauce. Their delicate texture contrasts beautifully with the robustness of the meat.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Oven-roasted vegetables, such as carrots, mushrooms, and bell peppers, add a touch of sweetness and earthiness to the dish. They provide a colorful and nutritious addition to your meal.
  • Grilled/Steamed Greens: A side of steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus, or sautéed spinach not only brings freshness to the plate but also balances the richness of the dish.

Wine And Cheese Pairings

No meal is complete without the perfect wine and cheese accompaniment. Here are some recommendations to enhance the flavors of Pastissada De Caval:

Wine Cheese
Full-bodied red wines such as Barolo, Amarone, or Sangiovese Pair the rich flavors of the Pastissada De Caval with aged cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
Dry, white wines like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc Opt for softer cheeses like Fontina or Mozzarella di Bufala to maintain a delicate balance

Make sure to serve the wine and cheese at the appropriate temperature to fully enjoy their flavors alongside the complex taste of Pastissada De Caval.

Pastissada De Caval

Frequently Asked Questions On Pastissada De Caval

What Is Pastissada De Caval?

Pastissada De Caval is a traditional Venetian dish made with horse meat slow-cooked in red wine and spices. It is a rich and flavorful stew that is often served with polenta or mashed potatoes.

How Does Pastissada De Caval Taste Like?

Pastissada De Caval has a bold and robust flavor. The slow cooking process allows the meat to become tender and infuses it with the rich flavors of the red wine and spices. It has hints of garlic, onion, and various herbs, resulting in a savory and satisfying taste.

Is Pastissada De Caval Popular In Venice?

Yes, Pastissada De Caval is a popular dish in Venice and the surrounding Veneto region of Italy. It is considered a traditional and iconic dish that showcases the culinary heritage of the area. Many local restaurants and trattorias offer this delicious stew on their menus.

Can Pastissada De Caval Be Made With Other Meats?

Although the traditional recipe calls for horse meat, some variations of Pastissada De Caval can be made with other types of meat, such as beef or veal. The key is to use a tough and flavorful cut of meat that can withstand the long cooking process and absorb the flavors of the sauce.


To truly experience the rich flavors of Venetian cuisine, Pastissada De Caval is a must-try dish. This traditional horse meat stew is not only a delicious culinary delight, but also a glimpse into the cultural heritage of the region. With its robust blend of savory spices and tender meat, Pastissada De Caval offers a unique and memorable dining experience.

So why not embark on a gastronomic journey and savor the authenticity of Veneto with this traditional dish?



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