Beef straccetti with asparagus and spring onions

Umbria Agricultural Fair: majestic Chianina bull, an ancient breed from Central Italy wheighing up to 1700 kg/ 3700 lb and up to 1.8 m / 6 feet tall

Spring, spring, spring! Quick, quick, quick! Who wants to be inside with this beautiful weather? Who wants a complicated dinner when there’s lavender to prune, petunias to plant, dry leaves to sweep?
I love this dish, it’s light and juicy, it has the crunch and aroma of my favorite vegetables and it’s ready in 10 min. The term “straccetti” means small rags, referring to the messy shape of the thin strips of beef. I use carpaccio from Chianina, the powerful cows raised by the Etruscans and Romans 2000 years ago and respected ever since for beauty and quality.
Serve the straccetti on a bed of boiled grains  and you will have a wholesome Italian stir fry. Here I buy a mixture of farro, barley and brown rice which is parboiled and cooks in only 12 min.

  • 200 gr. / 6 oz very thinly sliced beef
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 350 gr / 2/3 lb green asparagus, woody stalks removed
  • 3-4 spring onions sliced

I hope you are lucky and you have a gorgeous spring out there. Should you be able to tear yourself from all that beauty, cut the meat slices into strips, place them in a bowl, add the lemon juice, one crushed garlic clove, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, toss to distribute the marinade and set aside. Refrigerate if you plan to marinade for more than one hour.
Clean the asparagus, toss them with one tablespoon of EVO oil and broil under a grill until just beginning to char but still bright green. Take out of the oven, add one finely minced clove of garlic and cover to infuse.
Now you can go outside and sit on your balcony or plant the petunias. When is almost time for dinner, bring the meat at room temperature and cut the asparagus in 5 cm / 2 inch long pieces. Slice the spring onions and soften them in a tiny bit of EVO oil, increase the heat to very high, add the beef strips  -marinade and all – and stir vigorously until just starting to color. Add the asparagus and their juices and stir some more until just warm. Serve immediately, it’s for 2-3 gardeners.

stir fried beef with asparagus


  1. I stumbled upon your beautiful blog. I can’t wait to hear more about Umbria. I’ve spent some time in Italy…need to get back there!

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