Italian Guazzetto Oxtail

Italian OxTail Stew Guazzetto

The Spruce / Matt Lincoln

  • Total: 3 hrs 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 bowls (serves 4)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
177 Calories
8g Fat
19g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 bowls (serves 4)
Amount per serving
Calories 177
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 262mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 8g
Calcium 97mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Guazzetto (gwa-CHET-to) means "splashed with wine," and although it refers to the sauce which can be used with fish or chicken or pork, many grew up eating it as an oxtail stew. We did some research and found a recipe for it on which we have adapted below.


  • 1/4 oz dried porcini
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 oz. oxtails
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1/2 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup homemade beef or chicken stock or 2 cups canned chicken stock

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 275 F.

  2. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil, remove from heat, and add dried porcini. Allow to rehydrate for 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms and reserve. Strain the water the mushrooms soaked in through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter and reserve.

  3. Generously season oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown oxtails on all sides. Set oxtails aside.

  4. Wrap clove, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf in a small cheesecloth sack and tie with string.

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and sweat onions and carrots for 10 minutes with a generous pinch of salt. Increase heat to medium-high, add wine and deglaze the pot. Add all remaining ingredients including oxtails, mushrooms, and mushroom liquid. Add enough stock to just cover the oxtails.

  6. Bring to a boil then immediately cover and transfer to a lower rack in the oven. Cook for three hours, topping up liquid with water or additional stock as necessary. Remove from oven.

  7. Remove oxtails and shred meat, reserving. Place pot on stovetop and reduce to about 1 cups over medium-high heat. Add shredded meat and serve over pasta, polenta, or bread.

  8. We like this dish with sautéed broccoli rabe; its bitterness is a nice addition to the meal.


  • You will not taste the anchovy paste. Its purpose is to thicken the stew, and it does this beautifully without affecting the flavor.

A Little Bit About Oxtails

Oxtails are a unique cow part. Like the brisket and shoulder, they are active muscles and well marbled with collagen (but not much fat), however, because the tail’s main job is swatting flies, unlike the shoulder and brisket it’s not a load-bearing body part. So lots of flavors and not overly tough. Also, while the stew cooks the collagen melts, and so does the marrow in the bones producing a wonderfully silky sauce. Guazzetto is usually served over pasta, but I also like it over mashed potatoes, polenta or cubes of bread. 

Edited by Joy Nordenstrom