Il brasato

Braised beef   Traditional Italian recipe

Braised beef is a very tasty dish that must be cooked slowly on low heat. The beef piece should be cooked, after appropriate marinade, even 3 to 4 hours in all the herbs and wine used for marinating. Braised beef can be done with or without tomato according to the different versions. Serve it with polenta or mashed potatoes or boiled and sauteed vegetables. Typical recipe of winter and autumn. If you use the right portion for meat (100g - 3 1/2 ounces), an example for the Mediterranean diet.

Braised beef served with polenta
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Braised beef and polenta

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 800g (1 3/4 pound) beef eye or round or another fairly lean cut
  • 30g (1 ounce) bacon in a piece
  • 120g (4 1/4 ounces) onion
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) carrots
  • 60g (2.1 ounces) celery stalk
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 little fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1l (2.1 pints - 4 1/4 cups) red wine
  • 30g (1 ounce) butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Time:
    preparation: 15 minutes
    cooking: 3 to 4 hours
    total: 4 hours
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 405 (kcal) 21 % GDA (*)- 1697 (kJ)
    Protein: 45.5 (g) 91 % GDA
    Total fat: 18.3 (g) 27 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 4.3 (g) 2 % GDA
    Sugars: 4.2 (g) 5 % GDA

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Braised beef recipe


  • - Cut the bacon into strips.
    Make some cuts in the block of meat with a sharp knife and stick a strip of bacon in each.
  • - Prepare the meat for the marinade.
    Place the meat in a bowl.
    Cover with all the wine.
    Clean, wash and chop the onions, carrots and celery.
    Put them too in the bowl.
    Add the bay leaf, sage, rosemary and some peppercorns too.
    Season to taste with salt, cover and let your meat marinate for at least 10 to 12 hours.


  • - Put the olive oil and butter in a large pan.
  • - Remove the meat from the marinade.
  • - Pat dry the meat with absorbent kitchen paper.
  • - Let the meat brown on all sides over a fierce heat.
  • - Once browned, pour in the wine used for the marinade together with all the herbs and vegetables.
    Add the tomato paste too.
  • - Bring the wine to a boil and lower the heat.
  • - Season to taste with salt and let and let simmer for 3 to 4 hours or until your meat is tender.
    Let the cooking juice reduce but not entirely.
  • - Add boiling water only if necessary.
  • - When the meat is cooked let it cool.
  • - Whisk the gravy and cut the meat into slices.
  • - Put the gravy and meat slices into the pan again.

Just before serving

  • - Warm up the braised beef directly into its gravy just before serving .
  • - Serve the slices of braised beef covered with its gravy as you can see on the photo.



  • - Some people are also used to add prosciutto fat together with butter and olive oil to the ingredients of braised beef. I prefer non to add it. Fat would be too high! For the same reason I often use only olive oil (2 tablespoons).
  • - Generally I use these wines to marinate the beef: Grignolino (red wine of Piedmont), Barolo (red wine of Piedmont) or Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Lison Pramaggiore (red wine of Veneto). Then I pair the same wine when I serve the meat.
    Braised beef with Barolo is famous all over the world.
  • - The photo shows you two slices of braised beef accompanied by polenta (Italian polenta taragna made with a mixture of buckwheat flour and coarse polenta flour) with the same gravy of braised beef on the top. Generally I'm used to reduce the cooking liquid in order to have a thick gravy but you can choose the consistency of your gravy according to your own taste.

Menu planning

  • - Serve the braised beef for a special occasion or a get-together with your friends. Accompany braised beef with polenta, mashed potatoes or boiled ans sauteed seasonal vegetables. It's a tasty second course and you can combine it with a dish of pasta or rice served before according to a typical Italian menu.
  • - How is a typical Italian menu? It is composed by: antipasto, a first dish based on pasta or rice, a second course made with fish or meat and finally a dessert. It's a full menu for a special occasion.

Useful links for this recipe

  • - Interested in my recipe for mashed potatoes? if you follow the link you can read not only this recipe but my version to reduce the fat too.

Healthy eating

  • - Daily menu. I do not suggest braised beef for your daily menu. Too long its cooking time!
  • - Special occasion menu. On the contrary braised beef is perfect for a special occasion if you want to serve a real Italian menu. In this case don't worry of calories, fat, sugars ... it is a special occasion, therefore it's rare, isn't it?
  • - If you want to drink a glass of wine remember you have to add 80-85 kcal per 100ml.
  • - I remember you my original home recipes can be made without salt; there is a combination of flavors that substitutes salt.


What's the right wine for " Braised beef "?

As we've just written above we pair braised beef with the same wine used for the marinade: Grignolino or Barolo. Both are red wines of Piedmont. Another choice is a full-bodied Venetian red wine: Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Lison Pramaggiore. We like very much Refosco of the firm Le Carline. We knew the owner and his wines during a stay in Caorle in summer and every year buy a collection of his prestigious wines. We can't miss them! Too great for our special occasions!