Have you ever had one of those recipes that reminds you of your childhood? Italian beef roast is one of mine. My mom used to make this when I was growing up. The house would smell amazing while it cooked all day long. My mom’s recipe isn’t written anywhere – it’s just the ingredients that my sister and I can remember to tell each other when we think about making it. You’d think we would have wised up and written it down by now. Nope. Currently my sister tells me that she makes Italian beef roast much better than I do because she has our mom’s special pot roast pan. However, I think I have just leveled the playing field with this new Land O’Lakes recipe for Italian Beef Roast. I can use my mobile phone to easily reference the recipe online, and have the advantage of using a time-saving slow cooker! Take a look at how an old Italian specialty gets an upgrade!
You can even get this ready before you leave for work. It should only take you 15 minutes to prep. The recipe says you can prepare this veggie mix in a bowl and then place into the slow cooker. However, I am lazy and see no need to dirty another dish – I just mix it in the slow cooker – it’s going in there anyway, right?
Peel and chop 6 medium carrots. You will want about 3 cups. Then chop 4 ribs of celery into 1-inch pieces and throw them all into your slow cooker.
Add 2 cups chopped white onion. As a time saver (and because I had already put on mascara and didn’t feel like crying it all off from chopping onions), thaw a bag of frozen diced onions and add to your slow cooker mix. Genius, right?
Next add a 15-ounce can of Italian-style diced tomatoes. Another option is to use whole tomatoes instead – I like the large tomato pieces! Then add a 6-ounce can of basil, garlic and oregano-seasoned tomato paste. This is so simple because all the spices you would add are already in the tomato paste!
Nothing easier than this – just stir until well-mixed. As Bryce said: This is all you wanted me to do? This is so easy!”
Time to get the roast ready! I have been known to confuse the boys a bit when making this in the morning before we leave for school. One of them usually asks, “Wait – we’re having steak for breakfast? Best Day Ever!” Then I have to break the news to them that no, it’s not for breakfast – it will be ready for dinner when we get home tonight. Score for me!
I think one of the greatest tips for a successful roast is choosing the right cut of chuck roast at the market. If you can buy one that is veined and marbled like this (look at the white lines), the fat will render down and the meat will be tender. If you try a leaner cut, it’s going to be more tough and tasteless. My sister and I have made this mistake before – trust us on this one. A 3-pound chuck roast is the perfect fit for a 4 1/2-quart slow cooker in this recipe.
Rub 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper into the steak.
Heat a skillet and melt 1/4 cup butter.
Contrary to my sister’s belief that the trick to making Mom’s Italian beef roast is using the “uber-cool” retro pan, I think the key to a delicious roast is selecting a well-marbled piece of meat and use butter to sear the steak before it goes in the slow cooker. The butter makes the meal!
Place the roast in the skillet and let it start to brown. You are just searing the meat so that the juices stay locked in.
I even turn the roast on its sides to make sure it's all browned.
Place the roast on top of the vegetable mix in the slow cooker and close the lid. You can cook this low and slow like I did for 8-9 hours while I was away at work, or you can put the slow cooker on high and cook it for 6-7 hours. The main goal is for the beef to be fork-tender. Either way, choose when you want the recipe to be ready and work your way back to a good start time.
At hour one, your roast will sit on top of the vegetables while it cooks.
You’ll start to notice by hour three that the vegetable mix is starting to get sauce-like.
At hour five, the roast disappears into the sauce, starting to get super tender. Be patient – the best is yet to come!
After a full day in the slow cooker while the kids were in school, I pulled the roast out of the slow cooker. The fork slid into the meat like it was a stick of butter! The whole house smells amazing and…I am starving! It’s almost ready to serve.
To make my life easier, I drain the vegetables into a colander and collect the gravy into a large bowl. I can easily pick out the carrots that my kids love to eat (let’s be honest for a moment – if I put a scoop of all the veggies on their plates, they would have a fit. I pick my battles here!)
Save the sauce to use as gravy over the beef and vegetables.
Then the Italian Beef Roast is ready to serve! Viola!
Want to know another great secret about this recipe? There are Day 2 leftovers that are equally delicious!
Puree leftover vegetables and gravy into a sauce. Heat the sauce in a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream to make the most amazing Rosa Ragu sauce to put over pasta. If you have any leftover beef, shred it and put over the pasta with some Parmesan cheese. I usually wish that we did have leftover beef, but it’s usually all gone on day one when we make this recipe -- it’s that good!
Pour the sauce over the pasta for an incredible meal.
Like I said, this is ridiculously easy to make. I can tell you that my mom used to spend hours prepping, chopping, stirring and fussing to get hers just right. No disrespecting my Italian mom, but this recipe is seriously upgraded by using the slow cooker to save time, and great ingredients make this an easy meal and instant family favorite. Put this easy Italian Beef Roast on your list of things to make for dinner this week – you won’t be disappointed! Enjoy and let me know what you think of this great pot roast recipe.
Alexandra is paid to write for the Recipe Buzz® Blog.