Stracotto is an italian braised beef with a scrumptious tomato sauce. Our recipe replicates the one from Rome, a traditional jewish recipe that is eaten on Shabbat.
The recipe is fairly simple to make. It uses only a few ingredients that ca be easily find almost everywhere.
What is stracotto?
Stracotto is an italian braised beef in a tomato and wine sauce. There are a few ways for making this dish in Italy. Some are just a way for referring to spezzatino (another slow cook dish) and some are a totally different recipe.
Our recipe replicates the stracotto alla romana. A traditional dish from the roman-jewish cuisine. Is a little bit different than other versions for some reasons, like:
- Is prepared only with onions and garlic. Unlike others that are prepared with carrots, onions and celery.
- Is cooked for at least 3 hours. Some other versions can be ready in 2 hours.
- No flour or anything else to thick the sauce. The onions are the ones that will help to achieve that wonderful texture.
Now, lets talk about the name: Stracotto. It means overcooked, because the meat is cooked for long time until extremely tender that almost melt in your mouth.
In the roman-jewish tradition, this dish is served mostly for special occasions, like Shabbat. The meat is served as a main dish (secondo) while the sauce is used to make pasta (primo).
- Choose the right pot for making the dish. A pot that can preserve best the heat without wasting so much gas/electricity. I like to use a cast iron casserole.
- You don’t need expensive cuts for this dish. Actually cheap cuts work better because they can handle long cooking amazingly.
- Even though the traditional recipe doesn’t call for it. I like to use fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme or marjoram. Just add them at the end for a delicate touch and aroma.
- Give the dish the proper time to cook. The meat needs time to proper cook, if you rush it will be tough and hard to eat.
- Making a simple tomato sauce at home is a matter of minutes. Give it a try and it will pay off. I’ll let you below a quick recipe for tomato sauce.
Ingredients and recipe
Beef. The traditional dish calls for rear muscle (round). It has more connective tissue and collagen that will melt into the stew and add a wonderful flavour.
Tomato sauce. A quick homemade recipe below in the recipe card. Or you can also use store-bought.
Onions. Added thinly sliced. They help to thick the sauce and balance the acidity from the tomato sauce.
Wine. As tradition calls, a decent red wine. Please avoid the so-called cooking wine.
Oil. As in almost every single italian recipe, an extra virgin olive oil is a must.
Salt & pepper. You can use whatever you have available or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper also do wonders.
Wash the meat, pat it dray and cut it into chunks. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Peel the onion and slice it into thin strips.
In a casserole pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook stirring for 10 minutes or until meat is brown and sealed.
Add the onion and sauté together with the meat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are very tender.
Pour the wine and mix. Allow almost all the alcohol to evaporate.
Add the tomato sauce and water to cover the meat 2 cm. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the flame to a minimum and cook for at least three hours, mixing occasionally. Do not allow it to dry too much or it can stick to the bottom. Just add a little hot water during cooking if necessary.
When the meat will be extremely tender, adjust taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the flame and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
More italian recipes with meat
Stracotto. Roman -style
- 1 kg beef meat (rear muscle)
- 800 gr tomato sauce (recipe on notes or use store bought)
- 150 gr onions
- 200 ml red wine
- 50 gr extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Wash the meat, pat it dray and cut it into chunks. Season with salt and pepper.
- Peel the onion and slice it into thin strips
- In a casserole pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook stirring for 10 minutes or until meat is ligthly brown and sealed.
- Add the onion and sauté together with the meat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are very tender.
- Pour in the wine and mix. Allow the alcohol to evaporate (about 4 minutes).
- Add the tomato sauce and water to cover the meat 2 cm. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the flame to a minimum and cook for at least three hours, mixing occasionally. Do not allow it to dry too much as it can stick to the bottom, so just add a little hot water during cooking if necessary.
- When the meat will be extremely tender, adjust taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the flame and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Let tomatoes cool down and remove the skins. Cut into halves, discard seeds and place them on a blender with all juices they may have release in the chopping board. Blend until smooth and use it in the recipe.