This Italian recipe features the classic pairing of red wine with beef. A juicy stewing cut, such as chuck or top round, is slowly roasted in the casserole pot with wine and a few seasonings until tender. The added vegetables make this a complete meal. The flavor only gets better with time, so cook ahead, if you prefer, and store up to three days in the refrigerator before serving.
Cooking Light JANUARY 2009
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cinnamon, and cloves, stirring well. Make several small slits on outside of roast with a paring knife; stuff with pancetta and garlic slices. Roll roast; secure at 1-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle roast with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Coat surface of roast with flour mixture, patting with your hands so it adheres.
3. Heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add roast to pan; cook 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add onion to pan around roast; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Stir in wine and broth. Place basil, marjoram, and bay leaf on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cloth together; tie securely. Add cheesecloth bag to pan; bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours, turning roast every 45 minutes. Nestle carrots and parsnips in pan; cook 1 hour or until roast is tender enough to cut with a spoon.
4. Transfer roast and vegetables to a platter. Discard twine; keep beef warm. Strain wine mixture through a sieve into a large bowl; discard cheesecloth bag. Return wine mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch in small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.
Wine note: Pinot noir is a nice match for this classic casserole because the dish incorporates many flavors found in pinot (cinnamon, cloves, meat, black pepper, bay), plus the wine's hint of cherry is a sumptuous contrast to the savoriness of all those slow-cooked beefy flavors. A favorite pinot: Cambria "Julia's Vineyard" Pinot Noir 2006 ($24) from California's Santa Maria Valley. —Karen MacNeil
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