Stracotto di Cremona
Pot roast in the style of Cremona

from Margaret and G. Franco Romagnoli. The Romagnolis' table: Italian
family recipes
(Boston : Little, Brown, 1975), p. 116-117.

Stracotto means cooked and cooked and cooked. It's a northern Italian
pot roast, originally from the Piedmont,but the best we ever ate was
in Cremona, which is to the east in Lombardy. Traditionally, it would
be cooked in a top-of-the-stove earthenware pot taller than it is
wide, with a very tight cover. After the first 3 to 4 hours simmering,
the heat would be turned off and the stracotto left to cool. The next
day the pot would be uncovered, the sauce stirred, and half a glass of
red wine added, Barbera usually, but at any rate a full-bodied dry red
wine. The stracotto would then be covered and brought back to simmer
for another 3 to 4 hours. This process was repeated for 3 days. By
that time, as an old Cremonese friend used to say, just a whiff of
stracotto was the equivalent of a meal. Above and beyond the time
consumed in its making, the essential ingredients are simply a nice
piece of pot roast, seasoning vegetables, spices, and dry red wine --
all of which blend to an incredible richness. This recipe will serve 8
to 10 people.

1 3 lb. boneless chuck or bottom round
2 to 4 slices lean salt pork
6 whole cloves
1 mediumm onion
1 medium carrot
1 celery stalk
1 quart dry red wine, or 2 cups wine and 2 cups water
1 2 1/2 - inch stick of cinnamon
3 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to cover the pot bottom
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste (diluted in 1 cup water)

If your meat is very streaked with fat, use only 2 good slices of salt
pork. If it is very lean, use 4 slices. Cut the salt pork crosswise
into little strips. Make a whole series of slits in the roast on all
sides, and stuff them with the strips of pork. Stick in the cloves at
random. Then tie the piece of meat with butcher string as you would a
sausage or a neat parcel.

Put the roast in a bowl just wide enough to fit it snugly and deep
enough to hold the marinade. Mince the onion, carrot, and celery as
finely as possible, and sprinkle over the meat. Add the wine and the
cinnamon, and marinate for at least 8 hours. The Cremonese advise 24
hours, but we found American meat needs at most only half that time.

Remove the meat from the marinade and drain it well. Put the olive oil
in a stewpot that has a good cover [note: we use an enameled cast-iron
Le Creuset dutch oven]. Flour the meat, patting it well to get it
evenly covered. Add the meat to the oil, and brown slowly over medium
heat. Once browned, salt and pepper the meat. Scoop the minced
vegetables out of the marinade and add them to the pot. When these are
browned, add the marinade. Add the tomato paste diluted in warm water
and, if necessary, enough more more warm water to cover. Bring the pot
to a boil, reduce the heat to a very low simmer, and cover. Put a
piece of heavy brown paper between the pot and its cover to seal it
well. [note: stick the paper to the edge of the pot with a flour &
water paste for a really tight seal]. Cook very, very slowly for at
least 4 hours. Uncover the pot, stir the sauce gently, and continue
cooking uncovered until the sauce has reduced and thickened. The sauce
should be smooth, like a fine gravy. The meat should be tender enough
to cut with a spoon.

Use half the sauce with pasta (rigatoni or fettucine) as a first
course, and the rest with the meat for a second course. Serve with
whipped potatoes or slices of hot Italian bread in order to take full
advantage of the sauce.

more recipes (Pan Bagnat) ===>>

page created Dec 27 2003
by ARB