Beef Stew for Emergency Responders in Snow Storm: A Legacy Endures at Joe’s Pizza

Lorenzo Colella awoke Tuesday morning to the same winter storm news as fellow New Canaan merchants: What had been predicted as two feet of snow would come to about half of that total.

Despite the still-hazardous road conditions, the Joe’s Pizza owner decided to open at 11 a.m.

And he decided to do something else.

“I just thought about these guys being out there and I figure they’re on the roads and need some food, so maybe I can help them out and give them a little extra kick in their step,” Colella told NewCanaanite.com.

That kick came in the form of a beef stew, and from a recipe near and dear to the 1995 New Canaan High School graduate.

With potatoes, carrots, beef, onions, cumin, rosemary, salt, pepper, thyme and brown gravy, the stew that Colella offered up to New Canaan police, firefighters, EMTs and public works crews was his mother’s.

Annunziata “Nancy” Colella died Dec. 15 at age 66. A Marcianise, Italy native, Nancy moved to the United States in 1971 to join her fellow countryman and husband, town resident Giuseppe “Joe” Colella, to open New Canaan mainstay Joe’s Pizza. Resilient, warm, intelligent and resourceful, she was the backbone for her family.

Colella said he made about three gallons of the stew.

Asked whether his mom would have the same community-minded instinct to cook it up for those who help keep the town safe and running, Collela said: “Heck yeah.”

“She worked for so many years here with these guys, helping them out. Knew all the firemen and cops.”

And those firemen and cops had rave reviews of the sustenance.

“It was delicious,” New Canaan Fire Department Assistant Chief Russ Kimes said.

“It’s wonderful and we greatly appreciate the donation. The guys have been working—plowing and shoveling— and it’s nice to take a break from work, readjust and get back at it.”

Police Officer George Caponera said the stew was “very good.”

“It was a nice break on a cold day,” he said.

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