Italian Pot Roast

stracotto
While I was away visiting family, I cooked primarily Italian fare (naturally). In order to appease some picky eaters, none of the recipes have any garlic. There is also little salt, onions, and chilli peppers. I will denote the optional additional ingredients. I can vouch that even without these, the recipes are still delicious.
The format at home is still much like the traditional Italian day: a light breakfast of brioche and espresso, a hearty lunch usually including a meat and side as well as cheeses and cold cuts, and a light dinner. Our dinners were without exception soups. Lunches were slightly more difficult for me to arrange as I was out all morning, running from one government building to another, filling out paperwork.

Enter the pressure cooker.

I think the pressure cooker is one of the scariest pieces of kitchen equipment out there. My mother uses it with calm, even though she tells an amusing story about a dinner which exploded all over the kitchen. With her guidance, I was able to make this stracotto.
Stracotto is often called Italian pot roast, probably because it shares many similar ingredients. However, I am fairly certain the cuts are different. I am not sure what the equivalent would be to the cut I used, but the New York Times suggests a chuck roast.
Stracotto

Adapted from the New York Times

olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery, chopped
3 lb chuck roast
1/2 c wine, preferably red
1 c chopped tomatoes
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Saute vegetable in olive oil until soft in pressure cooker, if using. Otherwise, use a large, shallow pot with a well-fitting lid.

Add chuck, wine, and tomatoes. Seal lid and bring up to pressure. Cook approximately 45 minutes.

Remove the pressure cooker from heat and cool. Test meat and return to heat if necessary. Otherwise, add basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread.

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Filed under Italian, Meat & Fish

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