Brasato al Barolo

Braised Beef in Barolo


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This classic meat dish from Piedmont is often served with steaming-hot slabs of polenta. It is very satisfying and filling, and it allows all the flavour of the wine to shine through. It is not true that cooking wine can be of a lesser quality than the wine you choose to drink, especially when using a really good, carefully selected joint of beef. Barolo is famously expensive, but deservedly so. With this in mind, this dish could be reserved to impress your guests at a dinner party.


  • 2.5 kg/ lb beef stewing joint, such as brisket or shin/shank
  • 50 g/2 oz pork fat, cut into strips
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 ml/1 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 7.5 ml/ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • pinch of mixed/apple pie spice
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp olive oil
  • 15 g/½ oz/1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 small fresh parsley sprigs
  • 750 ml/ pints/3 cups Barolo wine
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • polenta slices or mashed potatoes, to serve


  1. Pierce the joint all over with a sharp knife or thick skewer and insert the strips of pork fat into the meat.

  2. Mix the chopped parsley, sage, rosemary and garlic together. Add plenty of salt and pepper and then stir in the nutmeg, mixed spice and half the flour.

  3. Heat the oil and butter together in a large, heavy flameproof casserole until the butter is melted and foaming, then add the onion. Let the onion sizzle for a 3-4 minutes, stirring.
  4. Meanwhile, roll the joint in the herb mixture. Lay it gently on top of the frying onion. Add the carrot, celery, bay leaves and parsley sprigs. Seal the meat all over, turning it several times until browned, then remove it from the casserole.
  5. Carefully drain off any excess fat from the casserole, then add the remaining flour and stir into the juices, onions, carrots, celery and herbs that remain in the casserole to make a roux.
  6. Pour in 350 ml/12 fl oz/ cups of red wine and stir together thoroughly. Cook for about 2 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate, then return the meat to the casserole. Turn it over several times, then add the rest of the wine and cover the casserole tightly with a lid. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and simmer as gently as possible for about 4 hours, turning the joint occasionally, until the meat is completely tender.

  7. Remove the meat from the casserole and set aside. Remove and set aside a few chunks of carrot and celery, then push the sauce through a food mill or wide-meshed sieve or strainer. Season to taste, then put the vegetable chunks back into the sauce.
  8. Slice the meat thickly, then serve on top of your chosen accompaniment, with the sauce poured over.