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Italian Pot Roast

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hrs
  • Calories: 493
Italian pot roast over polenta in a black bowl

Italian pot roast is the kind of stick-to-your-ribs comfort food we crave when the temperatures drop. Tomatoes and pancetta add a deep and rich flavor that will make you come back for seconds.

‘Tis the Season for Roast Beast!

“When the Grinch Stole Christmas,”—playing on repeat in our homes this time of year—reminds us that this season is not how many presents you’ve received. It’s about love. And nothing say “I love you” like gathering your favorite people together around your table and feeding them something a little special. Enter this Italian pot roast recipe! Although it takes a little time—a low-and-slow cook is what makes pot roast oh-so-delicious—pot roast is actually a really low-key recipe. So go ahead and invite a big crowd over! Pop open a bottle of red wine, throw a couple of logs on the fire, spin some holiday tunes and create the kind of glowing, cozy memories that this time of year is supposed to be all about.

braiser of Italian style pot roast

Italian Flavors Make For the Best Pot Roast Recipe, Ever.

What makes this pot roast an Italian pot roast? Well, the classic all-American pot roast is usually flavored with super-simple things—think carrots, onions, potatoes maybe a little garlic if your Grandma was a wild-child. Our riff on the classic gets its Italian flavors from:

  • Pancetta! Pancetta is very similar to bacon. However, instead of being smoked (as most bacon is) pancetta is cured with salt. If you can’t find pancetta, though, a good-quality bacon works as a replacement.
  • Tomato paste. Did you know? Tomato paste is a supercharged source of umami!
  • Red wine. Any excuse to open a bottle! Kidding, kidding. Wine stands in for the traditional beef or chicken broth as the liquid that your pot roast will braise in. Acid in the wine helps to break down the meat—which is a good thing—and will add a special depth of flavor, too.
  • Lots of garlic! Because we love garlic, and so does everyone else.
Italian Style Pot Roast 3

Italian Flavors Make For the Best Pot Roast Recipe, Ever.

What makes this pot roast an Italian pot roast? Well, the classic all-American pot roast is usually flavored with super-simple things—think carrots, onions, potatoes maybe a little garlic if your Grandma was a wild-child. Our riff on the classic gets its Italian flavors from:

  • Pancetta! Pancetta is very similar to bacon. However, instead of being smoked (as most bacon is) pancetta is cured with salt. If you can’t find pancetta, though, a good-quality bacon works as a replacement.
  • Tomato paste. Did you know? Tomato paste is a supercharged source of umami!
  • Red wine. Any excuse to open a bottle! Kidding, kidding. Wine stands in for the traditional beef or chicken broth as the liquid that your pot roast will braise in. Acid in the wine helps to break down the meat—which is a good thing—and will add a special depth of flavor, too.
  • Lots of garlic! Because we love garlic, and so does everyone else.
italian pot roast over creamy polenta in a bowl with a side of fresh parsley

What Is the Best Meat for Pot Roast?

Let’s set the record straight once and for all—the term “pot roast” actually refers to the cooking method used in pot roast recipes, not a specific cut of meat. Pot roast is basically just a way of braising tough cuts (read: inexpensive! yay!) of beef so that they become tender and juicy. Because the cuts you can use are much cheaper than other cuts of beer, pot roast is a great way to feed a crowd. Here are a few cuts that work well:

  • Chuck roast (our pick!)
  • Brisket
  • Rump roast
Italian pot roast in a large braiser topped with fresh parsley

How To Make Pot Roast

This Italian pot roast recipe is made for lazy Sundays as the rain gently pitters against the windowpane. It’s the definition of comfort food and it’s all about taking things slow. Carve out a little time, and let’s get started. Here’s how to make Italian pot roast:

  1. Prep your vegetables!
  2. Brown the meat.
  3. Crisp the pancetta. (Tip: use the same pot you browned the meat in—one-pot dinners FTW!).
  4. Nestle your pot roast back into the pan along with the wine, tomato paste and bay leaves and bring it to a simmer. It should be looking pretty pot-roast-y now.
  5. Pop it in the oven for 2 whole hours—aka, just enough time to get comfy on the couch and watch a movie.
  6. Once the meat is fork-tender, lift it out of the pan and make a gravy with the pan drippings.
  7. Serve to a happy crowd!
Italian pot roast over polenta in a black ceramic bowl with a glass of wine and a pot of italian pot roast

What To Serve With Italian Pot Roast

We love serving the pot roast over our garlic mashed potatoes! Or, to complete the Italian theme, our creamy polenta recipe. If you want something a tad lighter, our simple Italian salad is a wonderful option.

pot roast over creamy polenta with a glass of wine and crusty bread

Tools You’ll Need:

Four Meals That Are Just as Cozy as This Pot Roast

When the days are short and the temperatures drop, turn on the oven and settle in for the long season ahead with a few other one-pot recipes.

  1. One-Pot Chicken Stuffing Casserole
  2. Classic Beef Stew
  3. Meatball Shakshuka
  4. Philly Cheese Steak Skillet

A Pot Roast Worth Gathering For

We would love to see how you brought your friends and family together with this pot roast recipe. Snap a photo and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you fed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Italian Pot Roast

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hrs
  • Calories: 493

Ingredients

  • 3 lb boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta (or good quality bacon)
  • 1 large, yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped, carrots
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir or beef stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Minced flat leaf parsley
  • Mashed potatoes or cooked egg noodles

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the beef with the salt.

  2. In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-high, until glistening. Add the beef to the pot in batches and cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Using tongs, set the meat aside on a plate, the meat does not need to be cooked through at this point.

  3. Still over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until crispy. Add the onions, carrots and celery, stirring constantly to scrape up brown bits, until softened, about 5 minutes. If your vegetables are sticking to the bottom, deglaze the pot with water a few tablespoons at a time. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.

  4. Stir the tomato paste into the vegetables. Pour in the wine, thyme and bay leaves, stirring until combined. Using tongs, nestle the beef into the wine/vegetable mixture, along with any juices from the plate. The meat should not be completely covered. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, cover with the lid. Place in the oven until the beef is very tender, about 2 hours.

  5. Transfer the beef to a serving dish and tent with foil. Bring the liquid and vegetables to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered. After about 8-10 minutes the liquid should thicken and reduce by about ⅓. Pour the thickened sauce over the top of the beef.

  6. Garnish with pepper and parsley and serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 493
  • Protein 2 g
  • Carbohydrates 8 g
  • Total Fat 11 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Cholesterol 9 mg
  • sodium 586 mg
  • Total Sugars 3 g

Italian Pot Roast

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Amy

    Can I do this in a crock pot?

    If so, how long?

    We haven't tested this one in the crockpot. I would still use a skillet to brown the meat, cook the panacea carrots etc. I would transfer all of that to the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW 8 hours. And I would also thicken the gravy on the stove.

  • Alyssa Martinez

    Does that mean 3 to 5 inch pieces or is it 3x 5 inch pieces?

    Each piece roughly 3 to 5 inches.

  • Kathleen

    Hello! Can't wait to try this recipe! Can I make it ahead?

    Sure can!

  • Tiffany LeAnn Cadenhead

    Any subs for tomato paste? I can't do nightshades

    The tomato paste is a pretty powerful element here! You might try our "Classic Pot Roast" recipe, instead!

  • Mary

    Can I prepare this in a crockpot, instead of a Dutch oven? If so, for how long?

    We haven't tested it that way, but it would probably work! If you try it, let us know!

  • Alexa Rivera

    This is a great recipe! I hold off on reviews until I make the recipe several times. This recipe always turns out good! I’ve made it half a dozen times, and every time it’s flavorful, delicious, and tender! A new staple in my kitchen, everybody loves it.

    My only advice would be to cut the beef pieces slightly smaller than recommended and like with all beef—season with salt a few hours before or ideally 24 hours before! I’ve noticed a difference doing that.

    Thanks Alexa, we are so happy to hear you've made it so many times and that it has become a delicious staple for you!

  • Amanda

    This was an excellent pot roast. My partner was skeptical about using only wine for the liquid, but it produced a rich and decadent gravy. We used a bone-in chuck roast and left it whole. We used a crock pot, cooking on high for 4 hours and then on low for another 3.

    Thank you Amanda! We are so happy the two of you loved it!

  • Britt Crossman

    I just made this for Christmas dinner for me and my fiancé, and it was absolutely delicious. I threw in some larger carrot chunks to cook as the veggie side and the whole thing was great. I immediately sent the recipe to my sister who is a huge pot roast fan.

    Thanks Britt! This is so great to hear. So happy you loved its and thanks for sharing it!

  • Barbara Glendenning

    Wow! We made this tonight for our Christmas Eve dinner. The beef was tender and the “gravy” was delicious. A memorable meal!

    That's so wonderful Barbara! Thanks for trying it out!

  • Beth

    This is incredible! I made it for it Thanksgiving meal was we're celebrating tomorrow. Served with the creamy polenta. So tender & flavorful. We loved it!

    wonderful! So glad to hear that!