sliced Italian pot roast in Barolo sauce

Beef Roast Simmered In Red Wine (Brasato Al Barolo)

Italian beef pot-roast simmered in red wine


Getting ahead of the holiday panic

 Thanksgiving and Christmas are stealthily creeping up on us, and are about to jump from behind a door and scream, “BOO!!!!”. I thought I’d head them off at the pass and get you thinking about an idea to make for the holidays already, so you won’t be so scared when they do try to tap you on the shoulder in a dark alley. This beef pot-roast makes a delicious main dish to serve at your festive feast!


beef arrosto ingredients


Wine to use with a traditional Italian pot-roast

My Italian mother-in law serves this pot-roast up for our Christmas meal every year. The meat is simmered for hours in a heady mixture of vegetables and aged Barolo wine from the Piedmont region in the North-West of Italy. If you cannot find Barolo, you can use any heavy-bodied red wine, and the results will be excellent.  Barolo wine comes from around the tiny, but beautiful village of Barolo in the wine area below Turin, called The Langhe.  Barolo also has a fantastic wine museum.  I know it’s sounds boring, but it’s not at all!  It’s very artistically done (in a good way!) and interactive (though doesn’t include wine samples, more’s the pity!).


barolo wine for pot roast


What can you pair with the main dish?

You can pair the pot-roast with pretty much any side you like. I particularly like it with roast potatoes and braised onions. Usually in the Piedmont region of Italy, you would have a table full of antipasti, then a pasta or risotto as a starter, then the pot-roast with some vegetable sides. By the time we get to the roast, our stomach’s are complaining, so we only eat a little bit of it. That’s alright though as it keeps very well for days afterwards.


Italian pot roast in red wine sauce


What wines to pair with  Brasato al Barolo?

To get a suggestion for good Italian wines from the Piedmont region of Italy to drink with this Northern Italian recipe, look no further than the Independant Wine Company, based in the UK.  They have an interesting blog attached to their site with all sorts of good advice on which wines to drink with various dishes, and tell you the difference between the wines that come from the Langhe region.

If you have an electric knife, it makes cutting the meat very easy.  It’s perfect if it is cut into thin slices. If you don’t have an electric knife, use the sharpest knife that you can find.


sliced Italian pot roast


By Lisa Watson


Italian Red Wine pot roast (Arrosto al Barolo)

Italian pot roast in Barolo sauce. The meat is simmered for hours in a heady mixture of vegetables and aged Barolo wine from the Piedmont region of Italy.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Resting time1 day
Total Time1 day 3 hours 15 minutes
Course: entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people


  • 1.5 kg Boneless Beef Roast 3.5 lb
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 Carrot medium-sized
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 stick Celery
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 bottle Red Wine 750 ml


  • Dice the onion and peel and dice the carrots. Peel the garlic and slice it. Slice the celery stick.
  • Place the beef in a Dutch Oven, or heavy-based pot with a well-fitting lid.
  • Add all the other ingredients, including the wine to the pot.
  • Bring to a simmer on the stove-top, then put the lid on the pot.  Leave it to simmer on a medium-law heat for 2 1/2 hours. Turn the meat over two or three times during the cooking process.
  • Remove the lid and continue to let the roast simmer for another 30 minutes to allow the liquid to decrease in volume.
  • Remove the roast and let it cool.  When it is cool, cut it into thin slices, about 0.5 cm (1/4 inch thick).  This is easier to do with an electric knife, but if you don’t have one, use a very sharp meat knife, or cut them more thickly.
  • You can leave the wine sauce chunky, or if you prefer it to be smooth, blend it using a food processor.
  • Layer the meat in a stain-proof container with a lid, and pour the sauce over the top of it.  make sure all the slices are covered.
  • Close the container and place it in the fridge overnight, and up to three days.  This allows the flavours of the sauce to sink into the roast.
  • To serve, heat in the microwave, or gently in a pot of the stove-top.