Italian Pot Roast (Stracotto)


  • 3

    large cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1

    (3-pound) rump or boneless chuck roast

  • 4

    tablespoons olive oil

  • 1

    pound onions, peeled and chopped

  • 2

    carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2

    ribs celery, chopped

  • ½

    cup robust dry red wine

  • 1

    cup seeded, chopped plum tomatoes or well-drained canned plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

  • 1

    tablespoon tomato paste

  • ¼

    cup finely chopped fresh basil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Cut the garlic into thin slivers. Pierce the meat in many places with the point of a knife and insert the garlic slivers into the holes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy 3- to 4-quart heatproof casserole. Add the meat and brown it well over medium heat. Remove it from the casserole. Add the remaining oil and the onions, carrots and celery. Saute them until moderately brown.
  3. Stir in the wine and cook for a few minutes, scraping the casserole. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and basil. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and return the meat to the casserole.
  4. Cover tightly and cook over very low heat for at least three hours, until the meat is very tender. Turn the meat a few times during cooking.
  5. Remove the meat from the casserole. To serve immediately, skim the fat from the surface of the sauce, then puree the sauce in a food processor and reheat. Otherwise, refrigerate the meat and sauce overnight. Remove any congealed fat from the sauce and puree the sauce in a food processor. Reheat the meat in the sauce before serving.