Brasato all’Amarone. What is Brasato? Brasato is beef or veal first marinated and then slowly pan cooked (braised) in red wine and herbs. Brasato is a very elegant dish, traditional of the Northern regions of Italy where can be done with different red wines: Barolo in Piemonte, Barbera in Lombardy or Amarone in Veneto. Make Brasato all’Amarone for a special occasion, eventually with polenta on the side.
2 lb (900 g) beef for roasting
1 oz (30 g) bacon, diced
1/2 bottle Amarone wine
1 carrot, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 – 4 tablespoons broth
Using a sharp knife, cut a few small incisions on the surface of the meat.
Insert the bacon dice into the cavities.
Place the meat in a container; add the wine, carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, cinnamon, and thyme. Marinate for about 12 hours. Turn the meat occasionally to marinate it uniformly.
When you are ready to cook, drain the meat and reserve the marinade. In a large saucepan, put butter and olive oil; place on medium heat. When the butter starts foaming, add the meat and brown it, turning the meat several times on every side. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the marinade, and cook slowly on medium-high heat until the gravy reaches the desired density. Occasionally turn the meat to cook it on all sides.
Dissolve the tomato paste in the broth. Add to the saucepan. Adjust salt and pepper. Cook on moderate heat for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender, adding a little more broth if necessary.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board. For best results slice the meat when is lukewarm. Place the gravy in a food processor, remove the bay leaf, run the blade until very fine. Serve the meat lukewarm topped with the warm gravy.
Amarone is a very tasty, strong (and expensive) red wine from the Verona area in the Veneto region. If Amarone is not available, substitute with a different strong red wine, such as Barolo, Barbera, or Chianti.