Pot Roast, Florentine Style

Inspired by Stracotto Aila Fiorentina from our copy of The Fine Art of Italian Cooking By Giuliano Bugialli.

Below was edited twice in 2021 to improve on my English and reflect what we have done for years.

The Italian pot roast is one large piece. The chuck or rump is preferred so it can cook a long time (the word stracotto means “Very well cooked”). Some fat must be left on, and, so the meat remains juicy on the inside, it is larded by drawing strips of pancetta through the inside with a larding needle (in Italy, ago lardellatore). The carrot, inserted through the center, helps to flavor the inside of the meat and is aesthetically pleasing when the meat is sliced.

Stracotto is cooked with the full red wine of the area where it is made. Barolo is used in Piedmont, in Tuscany, one of the fuller Chiantis.

  • 2 medium-sized red onions
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 4 carrots
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Rump roast of beef (about 3¼ pounds), with some fat left on
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1¼ pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, skin and seeds removed, or 1 can (20 ounces) tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste if the desire is for the marinara to be thick.
  • hot meat broth if needed. If using fresh tomatoes then it likely will not be needed.

Cut the onions, celery, and 3 of the carrots into ¼-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large enameled castiron dutch oven (DO) and add the onions, celery, and carrots. Saute until the onions are beginning to be translucent.

In the meantime, insert a long, thin knife lengthwise all the way through the center of the meat making a large enough slit to insert the carrot. Withdraw the knife and fit the remaining carrot, whole, through the opening made by the knife.

Add more olive oil as needed and the meat coated with flour, salt, and pepper. Brown the meat pressed down through the vegetables so it is on the bottom of the DO. Once it is browned, add the wine, simmering until it evaporates. [Alternate – Brown the floured meat first. Remove the meat and saute the vegetables. Add the meat to the veggies with the flame on low sauteing very gently.]

After 15-20 minutes add the tomatoes and optional tomato paste if you want a thick marinara. Cover and simmer very slowly for about 2-3 hours depending on the size of the meat and quality. Add­ hot broth when needed and turning the meat several times. Taste for salt and pepper.

To Serve it Italian Style

  1. Remove the meat from the DO and place it on a chopping board for 10 to 12 minutes to rest.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the fat from the top of the marinara and reheat.
  3. Cut meat into slices ¼ inch thick. Arrange the slices on a platter and serve, accompanied by the marinera in a gravy boat.

Alternately, and what we usually do, is break the meat into small chunks and serve it with the marinara on top of pasta.

CAUTION – If you serve this to a new girlfriend then she may decide to “own” you, your freedom, and all your worldly possessions. I speak from experience.

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