Best Italian Pot Roast

Stracotto at Acquacotta

Daube, pot-au-feu, sauerbraten, slottsstek: No matter how you spell it or slice it, pot roast properly prepared is one of the dinner table's most deceptively simple and satisfying triumphs. Perhaps our favorite global variation is stracotto ("extra cooked"), a particularly tender preparation out of the Tuscan tradition. A brisket or boneless chuck is slowly simmered with garlic, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a nice chianti (hold the fava beans) just long enough to render the beef silky and succulent. Acquacotta's version is exemplary. Their stracotto emerges from the oven so tender it crumbles at the touch of a fork, and is served in thick slices with a beautifully balanced reduction sauce tasting of root vegetables, herbs, and robust red wine. It's presented with roasted carrots and potatoes whimsically carved into mushroom shapes that are perfect for dunking. The restaurant itself is rich with that rustic Italian hill-town ambiance, and the risotto, polenta, and crostada ain't bad either.
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