Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stracotto di Manzo or Italian Pot Roast


When the temperature dips to 5 degrees fahrenheit and snow blankets the ground like a down comforter, many of us seek solace in the kitchen with winter comfort foods. Foods that we wouldn't dream of cooking in July seem perfect for combatting January's frigid days - foods like this pot roast from Domenica Marchetti's book, "The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy."
I love all of Domenica's cookbooks, including her latest, "The Glorious Vegetables of Italy," so deciding on a recipe for dinner wasn't easy. 
This one comes from Domenica's mother Gabriella, a delightful woman who contributed much to Domenica's love of cooking and the food of Abruzzo in particular. It's a recipe that evokes Domenica's childhood and turned the humble dish into a special occasion meal. Last night, as snow fell and the landscape turned white, I decided I needed a special occasion meal too.

 I hadn't made a pot roast in years and picked up this large chuck roast at the supermarket earlier in the day. If you buy a piece with heavy veins of fat, as this one, you could carve some of it out before cooking, or do as I did and skim the fat from the liquid once it finishes cooking.
Season the meat with salt and pepper, then sear it on all sides, a process that takes four to five minutes.
 The vegetables (celery, onion, garlic, carrots, tomatoes) and seasonings are added to the pot, along with some wine and broth, then the oven does the work for the next two and a half hours.
What emerges is a flavorful, cut-it-with-a-fork tender pot roast that will leave you wishing for even more snowy days when you can hunker indoors with a hearty meal.

 Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles, polenta or whatever starch you prefer. My side dishes were farro with peas, and steamed butternut squash. The sauce from the roast is still quite chunky, but you could puree it with a stick blender if you prefer a smoother version. Consider setting some aside and adding it to some freshly cooked pasta as a first course.

Stracotto di Manzo Alla Gabriella
From "The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy"
by Domenica Marchetti
printable recipe here


  • 1 boneless chuck roast, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with the flat side of a knife blade
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup passato di pomodoro (tomato puree) or canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth (homemade is best), or water
  • Instructions
    Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. In ad Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle place the roast in the pot. Brown it on all sides, turning it every 3 to 4 minutes, for even coloring. Using tongs, transfer the meat to a plate.
    Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and saute, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the onion is pale gold but not browned. Stir in the thyme, followed by the wine, tomatoes, and the broth. Return the meat to the pot along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven. Let the pot roast braise, turning the meat every 30 minutes, for about 2 1/2 hours or until it is fork tender and the sauce is deliciously thick and red-brown.
    Remove the meat from the sauce and either cut it into thin slices or large chunks. Arrange the meat on a serving platter and spoon the sauce on top.

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19 comments:

Proud Italian Cook said...

That looks out of this world Linda! I love how the vegetables are finely chopped a taste with every bite. I haven't made a pot roast in a while either. This is comfort food to the max, great for a bitter cold day in Chicago!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Mouthwatering and comforting! This pot roast looks extremely appetizing.

Cheers,

Rosa

Helen said...

I've made this twice now and it is superb. For another cold weather winner, try Gabriella's bolognese sauce in Domenica's Glorious Pasta.
Those girls can cook!

domenicacooks said...

Linda, your stracotto looks perfect. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for posting a photo of my mamma. Next time I'm up maybe we can all get together for lunch. xo

domenicacooks said...

p.s. Love the idea of mixing peas with farro. Thanks for the inspiration.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

We are having a very mild winter this year in my area of Colorado, Linda, but I would still enjoy making and eating this superb stew! I will have to look for a good chuck roast the next time I go shopping.

Sheryll And Critters. said...

Hi Linda,

Wonderful recipe! Even I can make this one...... so soothing to your inner soul.

I hope you are doing well.

Sheryll & Critters.

Joan Nova said...

… and I haven't eaten a pot roast in years. This has been drooling and yearning.

AdriBarr said...

What a wonderful meal. Food like this is so satisfying. I make pot roast often, and I am always amazed at how much I wind up eating. It is soul satisfying food, and this looks like a great version. Stay warm!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This looks so delicious and it's so cold here that I can't wait to try it. This would be perfect for a Sunday dinner by the fire ;) Going to get the ingredients on my shopping list!

Stacey Snacks said...

I posted this a few months back....it was truly the best pot roast we have ever eaten. I have made it over and over again.
Your photos are gorgeous!

Chiara Giglio said...

un magnifico piatto domenicale da gustare in famiglia, grazie per questa ricetta Linda, buon we !

Frank Fariello said...

Just the kind of thing we crave when the temperatures dip, Linda! And chuck is definitely the juiciest, most flavorful cut for the job!

Cynna said...

Absolutely deicious! I am reheating some right now for tonight's dinner. Thank you for a great recipe!

Linda said...

This looks scrumptious, Linda! Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I love Italian pot roast! It's perfect weather for this meal.

Linda said...

Wonderful! I have everything here...I am going to make this for our snow day tomorrow...
Thanks so much!

Linda said...

I made this for dinner last night and it was a big hit! Thanks so much for the recipe!
Linda

momof2boyz said...

Looks so good!! I think I need to make it this week.