In this hearty Italian dish, chef Stefano Manfredi cooks cinnamon and bay leave-spiced beef cheeks in barbera, an Italian red wine. Serve atop a bed of warm pea purée, scatter with whole peas and drizzle with olive oil.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (64 votes)


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, to serve 
  • 6 (about 2 kg) beef cheeks, trimmed 
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped 
  • 1.5 litre barbera (see Note) or dry red wine 
  • 1 litre (4 cups) good-quality veal stock (see Note)
  • 1½ tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed 
  • 1 cinnamon quill 

Pea purée

  • 400 g podded peas (800 g unpodded) 
  • 50 g butter, chopped 
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Drink 2005 Giacomo Braida Bricco dell’Uccellone Barbera IGT, Piedmont, Italy.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Season beef and brown for 1 minute each side. Transfer to a plate and heat remaining 1 tbsp oil over low–medium heat. Cook onion, carrot and celery for 4 minutes or until softened. Return beef to the pan with wine, increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Stir in stock, tomato paste, bay leaf and cinnamon, reduce heat to low and cook for 3 hours or until beef is tender.

Meanwhile, to make pea purée, cook peas in a pan of boiling salted water over high heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp to serve, and process the remainder in a food processor until finely chopped. Add butter and oil, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate, return pan with sauce over medium heat and cook for a further 30 minutes or until reduced by half. Strain through a sieve, discarding the solids. Wipe pan clean, then warm sauce and beef over medium heat for 3 minutes or until heated through. Season and serve on top of warm pea purée, scattered with reserved whole peas and drizzled with oil.



• Barbera is an Italian red wine grape variety that is also produced in Australia.
• Veal stock is available from delis.


As seen in Feast magazine, Feb 2012, Issue 6. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.

Photography by Alan Benson.