Italian Pot Roast

1-PotItalianBeefPot 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.

Photography Credit: 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 Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 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 celery stalk, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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37 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Dora

    Is the roast supposed to be completely covered/submerged in the sauce while cooking? Mine is half in and half out.

    Should I add tomato sauce or something to cover the meat more? Been on for almost 2 hours and its not tenderizing.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Rich

    It’s in the oven. Was 1/4 cup of olive oil a typo? Nothing could stick to that pot.

  3. Johnny Thunder

    This recipe is now my family’s favorite! We have made this many times all with wonderful results. The only difference is once I used a Bordeaux as opposed to a medium bodied wine with amazing results. We always put the pot roast over a bed of polenta that I mix finely grated regianno cheese in. Absolutely amazing!!!


  4. Debbie

    Wondering if anyone had tried this recipe in slow cooker. If so please share how you prepared it differently

    Show Replies (1)
  5. joe

    I added some cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Very good if you like hot and spicy

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