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Low-Carb Brasato al Vino Rosso, Italian-Style Braised Beef

Alexandria, Virginia

Brasato al Vino Rosso is northern Italy’s version of pot roast.  The descriptive phrase means braised in red wine, and the technique results in beef that’s elegantly flavored and pull-apart tender.  Barolo wine is traditional, but Chianti or any hearty dry Italian red will work.

The dish is typically prepared with the “trinity” of onion, carrot, and celery.  I have removed the carrot, because it’s carb-y, and the celery, because I don’t like how it works without the carrot.  I’ve replaced the sweetness with red bell pepper.  I’ve left flour out of the sauce, so it’s a little thin but very full-flavored just the same.

The beef is typically served over pasta, but that defeats the purpose of reducing the simple carbs in the dish, so I usually serve it over spaghetti squash, but you could use mashed cauliflower, sautéed eggplant, or any vegetable bed you like.

Buon appetito!  

Braised Beef, Italian-Style


  • 2 lbs round or chuck steak, approx. 1½" thick
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 sm. red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
  • 1 sm. onion, chopped
  • 2 lg cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 14.5-oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 bottle dry red wine, divided
  • 4 lg leaves fresh basil, plus more for garnish, as desired
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • freshly grated Parmesan for serving, as desired


  1. Moisten steak with wet paper towels. Season lightly w/ salt and pepper.

  2. Coat bottom of Dutch oven or lg casserole with olive oil. Cook steak in oil over med.-high heat until well browned on both sides, approx. 10 min. per side.

  3. Meanwhile, sauté bell pepper and onion over med. heat in lg skillet coated w/ olive oil.

  4. When beef is browned, add sautéed pepper and onion, garlic, water, bouillon cube, stewed tomatoes, celery salt, and Italian seasoning. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to med.-low.

  5. Reserve ½ c. wine and pour rest of bottle over beef.

  6. Cover. Simmer 1½ hrs.

  7. Add basil, parsley, and bay leaf. Continue to simmer until steak is fork-tender and reaches at least 145 F, approx. 30-60 min.

  8. Transfer meat to heated platter w/ cooked pasta, spaghetti squash, sautéed eggplant, mashed cauliflower, or other bed, as desired. Remove bay leaf. Using slotted spoon, top beef w/ lg vegetable pieces. Set aside to rest.

  9. Meanwhile, make sauce: Add remaining wine to liquid in pot. Add butter. Increase heat to med-high and just bring to low boil. Immediately reduce heat to med.-low and simmer 5 min., stirring occasionally. Transfer to serving dish.

  10. Garnish meat and serve w/ sauce and freshly grated Parmesan, as desired.

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