Italian Pot Roast

I might have put the cart before the horse on this one.  Back in June, I shared a recipe for Braised Beef Risotto.  The recipe calls for using the leftovers from this roast, but when I made the risotto, I happened to have some roast in the freezer.  I shared a link to the roast but didn’t at all do it justice.

Sunday night we had some friends over for dinner.  Earlier in the week, Matt asked me what I thought I was going to make.  I told him I was thinking about this roast, and he said he was hoping I would say that.  This roast is absolutely one of his favorites — so much so that the first time I made it, he went to the farm and made it for his parents the very next weekend.  Of course he had to use venison, and he also insisted that we make both a beef and venison roast this past weekend.  Now, you know I didn’t try the venison, but our guests had both versions and said they were equally delicious.

Italian Pot Roast

  • Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing and drizzling
  • 4 onions, very thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds chuck, bottom round or top sirloin steak
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-5 starchy potatoes
  • 1 can diced Italian tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a thin layer of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic to the hot oil and sweat them until very soft and very light caramel in color, 20-30 minutes. Turn off the heat and reserve.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of olive oil to the pan. Pat the meat dry and season very liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the meat to a deep brown all over, 12-15 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and very thinly slice them lengthwise into planks. (I didn’t peel the potatoes.)

Arrange half of the onions over top of the meat. Season with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon thyme. Arrange half of the potatoes over the onions and dress with a liberal drizzle of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon, salt, pepper, half of the rosemary and a handful freshly grated cheese. Top the potatoes with half of the tomatoes and their juices and season with salt and pepper. Scatter a few leaves of torn basil. Repeat the layers. Do not add the basil to the top layer of tomatoes. (We did 2 layers.)

Cover the pan and roast the meat in the oven until very tender, about 4 hours.

Italian pot roast

I cannot begin to put into words just how good this roast is.  It’s so incredibly flavorful and tender — seriously, it melts in your mouth like butter.  It requires some time upfront, but once you put it in the oven, you can forget about it until it’s time to eat.  And it’s totally worth the time.  I’m so glad we decided to make this for our guests, and they were glad too.



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