Italicious has been sitting in the corner collecting dust for over a month now, and I don’t have much of an excuse for the first week of its neglect, but the best excuse for the past three, the birth of my daughter who made her debut on January 15th. These first weeks have been fairly easy, despite learning a whole new world of things that you can never know until you become a mother for the very first time. I had the help of my mother, which made it all less daunting, but the biggest help of all is having an such an easy baby.
I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking these past three weeks, my mother did most of it and my husband did the rest. Last Sunday he made us a wonderful Brasato, which is beef braised in red wine, vegetables and spices. The wine should be a Barolo, though we have never had the means to cook with a wine that costs $50 plus a bottle, we usually use a decent chianti or whatever else we have at hand. A travesty, I know, they say that you can substitute the Barolo with a Nebbiolo because they come from the same grape, but we live in South Carolina, if we can find a Nebbiolo here we’d rather drink it than cook with it. I’m breaking Piemontese hearts here, I know.
Brasato has become one of my husband’s signature dishes, it takes about 24 hours to make, at least 12 to marinate the beef in the wine and what seems like another 12 cooking the meat. It comes out like butter, you could eat this meat with a spoon. We hadn’t imagined that we would eat the whole piece of meat, but between the three of us we managed to and it was delicious! We froze the wine and vegetable “gravy” to toss with agnolotti as another meal, and now that my mother isn’t here to cook for us anymore, I am very thankful for a freezer full of food!
- 3 carrot
- 2 medium onion
- 5 ribs of celery
- 1/4 lb of mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- a bouquet of fresh and dried herbs and spices: rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme, fennel seed, black pepper (a friend of ours from Torino said that you need to use 21 different herbs and spices for this dish)
- 3 lbs of beef, either a rump roast or a similar cut
- 2 bottles of a dry red wine, or at least enough to cover the meat (barolo & nebbiolo preferred)
- 1 stick of butter
Combine the carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms, spices, herbs, meat and wine in a dutch oven, cover and leave the meat to marinate anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, turning the meat halfway through the marinating time.
After the meat has marinated remove the meat from the wine and dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade, removing the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick, and pour the vegetables in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
Melt the butter in the dutch oven, brown the meat on all sides in the butter, about 10 minutes. When the meat has browned, add the purée and the wine to the dutch oven and simmer for about 3 hours or until meat is tender, turning the meat occasionally.
When the meat is done, remove it from the braising liquid and cut into slices. Serve slices with the braising liquid drizzled on top and accompanied by mashed potatoes and a nice bottle of red wine.
One Year Ago: Alici Fritti, Roasted Fennel Gratin, Zucchini Quiche, Polpo Affogato, Pesce all’Acqua Pazza, An Interpretation of La Genovese, Genovese Sauce over Pasta, Farfalle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, & Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables