Italian Pot Roast

Italian pot roast! Rump or chuck beef roast, first browned in olive oil, then slow cooked in a sofritto base of carrots, celery, and onion, with Italian plum tomatoes and red wine.

Italian Pot Roast
Elise Bauer

A few weeks ago my mother and I attended a cooking demonstration by our local celebrity Italian chef, the delightful Biba Caggiano. We Sacramentans are proud to call Biba our own; she has a fabulous restaurant, is the author of several cookbooks, and for a while hosted her own cooking show on the Discovery Channel.

One of the recipes Biba demonstrated during our evening with her was her "Stracotto di Manzo alla Fiorentina" or "The Braised Beef of Florence". Biba, in her typical down-to-earth manner called it "nothing more than a glorified pot roast".

It's a simple and delicious recipe, much like our standard pot roast but with a soffritto base, the addition of tomatoes, and a whole bottle of wine.

Italian Pot Roast

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Servings 8 servings


  • 3 1/2 to 4 pound rump or chuck beef roast

  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large carrot, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 large rib celery, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium red onion, diced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

  • 3 cups medium-bodied Italian red wine (we used a Barbera)

  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, put through a food mill to remove the seeds


  1. Sear the roast:

    Trim some of the fat from the meat. Pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

    When the oil is hot, shimmering but not smoking, add the roast and cook, turning it a few times, until it is nicely browned on all sides, 10-12 minutes.

    Elise Bauer

    Transfer the meat to a platter.

  2. Add vegetables:

    Reduce the heat to medium. Add the carrot, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are golden brown and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, 10-12 minutes.

    Add the garlic, parsley, and sage, and stir until the herbs are lightly colored and fragrant, about 1 minute.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  3. Deglaze the pan with wine, return meat to the pan:

    Add 1 cup of the wine and stir quickly, lifting up the richly browned caramelized vegetables that stick to the bottom of the pan.

    When the wine is almost all evaporated and thickly coats the vegetables, return the meat to the pan and turn it over a few times to coat it with the savory base.

  4. Add remaining ingredients, simmer until tender:

    Raise the heat to high, adding the remaining wine, the bay leaf, and the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, turning and basting the meat every half hour or so, until the meat is very tender and flakes away when pierced with a fork, 3-4 hours.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  5. Turn off the heat and let the roast sit in its juices for an hour:

    (You can also put the pot into a 300°F oven and turn the roast every hour.)

  6. Remove meat, reduce sauce:

    Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a cutting board, covered loosely with aluminum foil. If the sauce is too thin, bring it to a fast boil and reduce it until it has a medium-thick consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.

  7. Cut the meat into thick slices:

    (it will probably fall apart), and place on warm serving dishes. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve hot. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or polenta.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
697 Calories
42g Fat
8g Carbs
57g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 697
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 53%
Saturated Fat 15g 77%
Cholesterol 188mg 63%
Sodium 454mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 57g
Vitamin C 16mg 81%
Calcium 68mg 5%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 1105mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.