After the chocolate truffles, “Braised Beef in Barolo Wine” is another recipe from Piedmont. It is a delicious dish, a real comfort food in the winter chilly days. Braised beef is usually accompanied by a steaming polenta, on which you can pour the magnificent sauce. Barolo is a wine which descends from the great Piedmont tradition, one of the best and, for sure, not inexpensive.
It is very impressive, a typical dish for official and elegant meals. Despite not being hard to make at all, still, it implies a careful organization due to the marinating time and the long cooking time. Usually, the marinade is done on the previous evening and the dish cooked the day after.
It is not a dish to freeze, but when the food is so good usually there are no left-overs.

Brasato al Barolo Beef braised in Barolo wine
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Total Time 15 hours (including 12 hours marinating time)
Yield: Makes 8 servings.


  • 4-pound (1,2 kg) boneless beef roast - chuck or sirloin trimmed of excess fat. These cuts do well for braising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (5 spoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 large celery stalks, diced (the vegetables should be chopped in similar sized pieces to ensure even cooking)
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled with internal germ removed
  • 1 branch fresh rosemary with lots of needles
  • 5 - 6 whole peppercorns
  • 1 750 milliliter bottle of Barolo wine (if substituting wine for another select a good drinkable red wine and extend the marinating time by 6 hours)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 - 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon (50 gr.) butter
  • 3 - 4 whole cloves


Start marinating the meat in the wine with half the vegetables, all the spices, and herbs the night before to ensure it marinates a minimum of 12 hours.
Dry the meat with paper towels and place in the bowl. Add half of the diced
vegetables, garlic cloves, the rosemary, peppercorns, the spices, and the bay leaves. Put the remaining vegetables in a covered container and place in the fridge for later when they will be added when cooking the meat. Pour the bottle of wine over the meat and the vegetables ensuring everything is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge (in the warmest section) for at least 12 hours.
When ready to cook, remove the meat from the marinade, dry using paper towels and put the roast into a pan that you have previously added the oil and butter and warmed slightly. Brown it on all side for 4 – 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the vegetables and aromatic herbs from the marinade and add them to the roast. At this time, add the reserved vegetables from the fridge. Cook this mixture for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring frequently just until the vegetables soften. Once the vegetables have softened add all the marinade (filtered), bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for approximately two hours. Rotate the roast so it is submerged in the braising liquid. Braise this way, turning the meat every 30 minutes, never using a fork that would pierce the meat and cause it to lose its juices.
Once the meat has finished cooking, remove the meat to a platter and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. Take the saucepan off the stove, remove the rosemary and bay leaves, puree the vegetables and marinade together with an immersion blender. Heat to a boil, reducing the sauce to a consistency that coats the back of a spoon. Season the sauce to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
To serve – slice the meat crosswise (against the grain). Heat the sauce to a gentle simmer, then spoon over the beef so the slices are lightly coated.
In Italy, it is usually served with mashed potatoes or sweet and sour baby onions.

Recipe Notes

Recommended Equipment:
A heavy saucepan, enameled cast-iron dutch-oven, glass or ceramic round or oval pan with a cover. Select a pot in which the roast will fit with no more than 2 inches of space around it. (The less space in the pot the less wine you’ll need). Select a bowl in glass or ceramic of similar size.

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About the Author

Growing up in Emilia Romagna, a region known for Parmesan, Parma ham, lasagna, and filled pasta, a great deal of my childhood was spent in the kitchen with my grandmother and mother.

Even at a very young age, I could see that for them cooking was a passionate expression of their love for their family. While I’m filled with many warm memories of watching them cook, what I remember most is circling the table and watching the stove, waiting for any opportunity I could to steal a taste.