A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Slow Cooker Italian Beef in Red Wine Sauce

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Slow Cooker Italian Beef in Red Wine Sauce

A few weeks ago I was wandering through the Wicker Park Farmers Market with my friend Alexis when we stumbled upon a vendor selling gourmet pastas. I love pasta (as you know) and Pasta Pappone! had a really fun selection of flavored pastas that I couldn't wait to try. I finally decided on their Cabernet Linguine and then I returned home to ponder what to pair it with...

I decided that a red wine pasta deserved a sauce that was rich with deep flavors just like what you'd expect from a red wine. And I couldn't imagine pairing it with any protein other than beef. I envisioned a rich and hearty red wine sauce with beef that had been slow cooked and was pretty much falling apart-- like a boeuf bourguignon, but with an Italian spin on it. And thus, this recipe was born. The beef and veggies take on great flavors after being slow cooked in a combination of Italian red wine, beef broth, and tomatoes along with a generous addition of fresh Italian herbs. Cooking it in the slow cooker is the easiest way to get full flavor and falling apart quality that you want from a slow cooked meat. And the prep work here is very minimal.

It was great served over the red wine pasta, but would be perfect with any other kind of pasta or even over creamy polenta too.

  • 1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 lb. beef roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut in 1-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced *I used baby bellas
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups Chianti or other Italian red wine
  • 1 cup fat free beef broth
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with liquid

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season beef pieces with salt and pepper and add to pan, turning until seared on all sides.

Add beef to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients (through canned tomatoes). Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, stirring occasionally if possible. Remove lid and cook on high for another 30-60 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Discard bay leaf and serve over hot cooked pasta or polenta.

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