A stracotto is actually a stew, long simmered to concentrate the juices of the meat into a dense flavor. When spooned over tubular pasta, the bits of meat that have not disintegrated nestle into the cavities. Over flat noodles, the full-flavored sauce will cling to the tender ribbons.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds beef bottom round roast
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 4 cloves garlic, slivered, plus
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup homemade beef stock or canned broth
- 1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1 pound penne or pappardelle
1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the pot roast and brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan, and set aside.
2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and slivered garlic and sauté until soft, 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
3. Set a rack in the bottom of the pot and place the roast on top. Pour the stock into the pot. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Remove the roast and the rack from the Dutch oven, and cut the meat into 1/4-inch-thick slices (they will be quite rare). Return the slices to the pot, layering them evenly.
6. Crush the plum tomatoes slightly, and add them to the pot along with the tomato paste, the 1 teaspoon minced garlic, pepper, salt, thyme, bay leaf, red wine, and reserved vegetables. Bring to a boil, transfer to the oven, and bake, covered, until the meat falls apart, 1 1/2 hours.
7. Remove the meat and bay leaf from the pot, and allow to cool slightly. Discard the bay leaf. Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Add the parsley, and heat through.
8. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain. Serve the stracotto over the hot pasta.
Makes 6 portions
from The New Basics Cookbook