early dismissal pot roast
from GrossyPelosi's new cookbook, "Let's Eat"
Today is a very good day — not only am I sharing a simple, set-it-and-forget-it pot roast, perfect for back-to-school (and fall in general, if there’s no school involved in your life), but I am also getting to introduce you guys to DAN PELOSI, aka @GrossyPelosi.
Dan is one of my favorite follows on Instagram — his food is so approachable, inviting, and delicious looking, and his bubbly personality shines through the screen. We share an editor and a publishing house, and his cookbook comes out on September 5th!
He lives in Brooklyn, just bought a house in Upstate New York, and is just such a bright light, both metaphorically and on the screen. His bold, colorful personality is matched only by his bright and bold fashion, food, and home.
I’m pumped about this pot roast, and I’m really pumped to preach the GrossyPelosi gospel.
To skip the interview and get straight to the pot roast, download the recipe here.
Dan, hi! Give the What To Cook crew your spiel! Who are you, where do you live, what's up with you?
I am Dan Pelosi, aka GrossyPelosi — a gay male Pinterest Mom who loves storytelling and family recipes, finding new ways to celebrate holiday traditions, and creating comfortable and beautiful spaces to entertain friends and to truly live, laugh, and love.
During the pandemic I spent most of my time sharing recipes and everything in my day-to-day life on my IG @grossypelosi and my website danpelosi.com (which I still do to this day), but in 2021 I finally decided to make it my full-time job (I worked as a Creative Director for fashion retail brands for years), which led me to incredible opportunities including writing my very first cookbook, working on fun projects with dream brands, and continuing to help people feed their friends and family.
Let's Eat: 101 Recipes to Fill Your Heart & Home is out September 5th and is a warm hug of home cooking. In it I share both comfort food and connection through 101 of my nearest and dearest Italian American recipes. Some have been passed down through my family, and others have been cooked up from scratch — but all are made with love and accompanied by fun, meaningful stories from my life to warm your heart while filling your belly.
Give us an ideal day of eating in your area. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Where are we eating, and what are we ordering?
Breakfast is at Ciao Gloria in Brooklyn. My friend Renato owns it — it’s the best Italian bakery and cafe in NYC. I am ordering an almond milk latte and the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, which is the most incredible breakfast sandwich I have ever eaten. I literally wake up and think about it immediately. Of course I follow it up with a few baked goods — usually a cinnamon roll and, of course, an Italian rainbow cookie.
Lunch — if I am going into Manhattan, which I often do in the middle of the day, I'll always grab lunch at Via Carota. It's one of the hardest restaurants to get into in NYC but way easier at lunch. I order heavily from the vegetable section of the menu. They always do the most amazing things with the simplest ingredients — tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini are my go-tos. A non-alcoholic Negroni and a few hunks of bread and I am set.
Dinner — my boyfriend, Gus, is a server at Shukette, truly one of the most delightful restaurants in NYC right now. The chef, Ayesha, is a friend of mine and her take on Mediterranean food is unlike anything I have ever seen. I love a solo bar seat at dinner there, surrounded by hummus, labne, fresh pita, seasonal vegetables, and a big bowl of Shawarma Fries — everything is almost as delicious as the quick glances I get from Gus as he is hard at work.
Greatest vacation you've ever been on: Who were you with, and why was it the best?
My very best vacation would have to be all of the weeks spent renting a house over the summer on Fire Island with my best friends. I bring (almost) my entire kitchen with me and we cook elaborate feasts together after spending lazy days living, laughing, loving at the beach or by the pool. This is peak Vacation House Mom and my preferred form.
Favorite kitchen tool?
It's probably my Magic Bullet. I've had it since my 20s, it never fails me, I use it more than my Vitamix, and it fits in my purse. I found out recently you can buy replacement blades and canisters for it and I almost started crying.
Playlist you can't stop listening to?
One of my followers recently sent me a Spotify playlist called "You're A Single Mom in the 90s Cleaning Her House" and I've never felt more understood. It truly has all the hits.
Book you can't shut up about?
I was recently at my Aunt Chris' house, raiding her cookbook collection (which I often do) and she handed me a Richard Simmons cookbook called Sweetie Pie. I am the last person to ever recommend a diet cookbook but the puns, art direction, and photography are just *chef's kiss.*
Most fun thing you've done lately?
I just closed on a house in Upstate NY — this has long been a goal of mine and I finally found THE house so I have been spending time hanging out in the country at my house looking at all the gorgeous light that streams into every room, dreaming of all the things I want to do to the house over time.
What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?
Whenever I don't feel like cooking I always make Marcella Hazan's famous Tomato Butter Sauce. It's three ingredients, requires zero prep, and implores you to let it simmer on the stove for an hour without touching it. The result is the most delicious, simple pasta sauce you've ever tasted.
Tell us about our new favorite pot roast!
When I was a teenager, my mother would sometimes send me to school with a note saying that I needed to be dismissed early. The whole thing was a ruse — she needed me to go home, turn on the oven, and slide her pot roast in so that it would be ready in time for dinner. In her eyes, pot roast was more important than my education, and I can’t say I disagree. After all, a good pot roast cooks for hours and cannot be rushed. (Mrs. Muldowney, if you’re reading this, please accept my apologies.) These days, I save my own pot roasting for the weekends, when I have all the time in the world and want plenty of leftovers for the week. The roast cooks in a flavorful mix of pancetta, tomatoes, red wine, fennel, and lots of herbs until it’s about ready to fall apart at the seams. Pearl onions and mushrooms soften, and herby horseradish cream adds the final touch of zing and richness. Mom would be proud!
early dismissal pot roast
By Dan Pelosi (modified to match WTC style)
Cook time: 3 hours, 45 minutes to 5 hours (~45 minutes active, 3 to 4 hours inactive)
Tools (with Caro’s product recommendations linked):
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast or bottom round
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces cubed pancetta
4 medium carrots, divided
2 celery stalks
1 large white onion
8 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 large bulb fennel, halved and thinly sliced
1 pound peeled pearl onions
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
2 parsley sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
2 sage sprigs
Herby Horseradish Cream (recipe follows), for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Season 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast or bottom round all over with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the meat and cook until nicely browned all over, about 6 minutes on each large side and 2 minutes on each small side. Transfer the roast to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add 4 ounces cubed pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is crispy, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, roughly chop 2 of the carrots, 2 celery stalks, and 1 large white onion. Add the veggies, along with 8 garlic cloves, to a food processor and pulse about 8 times to finely chop the ingredients. Add the veggies to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a thick, paste-like mixture forms, 10 to 12 minutes. (The veggies will release a lot of liquid at first and then dry out.) Stir in 1 tablespoon tomato paste and cook until it darkens to a deep red, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup red wine and 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb, 1 pound of peeled pearl onions, and 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms. Cut the remaining 2 carrots into 1-inch pieces and add them to the pot. Stir to coat everything in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.
When the sauce begins to simmer, use tongs to nestle the seared roast into the center of the pot. (You might have to move some veggies out of the way to make room, but everything should fit snugly.)
Gather 2 parsley, 2 rosemary, and 2 sage sprigs into a bundle, wrap it a few times with a piece of kitchen twine, and tie it tightly. Drop the bundle into the tomato sauce and cover the pot.
Roast for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is fall-apart tender. Make the Herby Horseradish Cream (recipe below) while it’s roasting. Remove from the oven and use tongs to roughly break up the meat into large pieces. Serve from the pot with the horseradish cream alongside.
herby horseradish cream
Makes about 2 cups
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
In a medium bowl, combine 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup prepared horseradish, and a large pinch of kosher salt.
Whisk to mix well. Cover tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
3 hours and 45 minutes to 5 hours?! I know, I know, this cook time’s technically against the WTC rules, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken and this is one of those times (plus, it’s a guest post!). This absolutely stunning meal only takes 45ish minutes of active cook time, then you just pop it in the oven and do nothing for 3-4 hours (other than make an easy herby horseradish cream). So make it on a Sunday, or on a weekday when you’ll be working from home. Or, take a cue from Dan’s mom, and have an *appointment* you have to leave work early for.
Slow Cooker: Or throw it all in your slow cooker (after searing the beef) and slow cook for 8 hours.
Love your leftovers/freezer-friendly: Leftover pot roast will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat and eat as is, or turn your leftovers into a soup! For soup: in a pot, mix the leftovers with a few cups of cooked farro or rice, a few cups of beef or vegetable broth, and a (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes. Heat and adjust the amount of broth and seasonings (kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper) as needed. You could also freeze your leftover pot roast (or soup) for up to 3 months. The veggies might get mushy but the flavors will still be great!
I don’t have kitchen twine: Tying the herb sprigs together ensures no one will get a stray sprig in their bowl. But if you’re out of twine, it’s fine — just throw the loose sprigs into the pot and be mindful to remove them one by one when it has finished cooking. DON’T use foil like we did for our rotisserie chicken — that wouldn’t be safe here.
Vegetarian: OK there’s no simple vegetarian sub this week. If you Google “vegetarian pot roast” you can find some recipes that use extra mushrooms and potatoes, and/or jackfruit. Let us know if you try out a plant-based protein that you love! Otherwise, browse the “vegetarian” section of the WTC index to find a dish you love.
Dairy-free: Swap in DF sour cream.
Gluten-free: Double check that the prepared horseradish you’re buying is gluten-free. Most will be!
Chuck roast: Boneless chuck roast and bottom round are the two best cuts of beef for slow-cooking like we’re doing here. Brisket is another option!
EVOO: Olive oil or a neutral oil like avocado or grapeseed
Pancetta: Chopped bacon, guanciale, or omit
Carrots, celery, onion: You can use a red or yellow onion or shallot if needed. Parsnips would be a good sub for carrots. You could double the carrots or onion in the soffritto if you’re out of celery.
Garlic cloves: 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or 8 cubes of frozen minced garlic
Tomato paste: 2 tablespoons tomato purée or tomato sauce mixed with 1/4 teaspoon sugar, or omit
Red wine: Alcohol-free red wine if it’s the alcohol you’re trying to avoid. Or white wine. Or 1/2 cup beef broth plus a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. But yes, kids can safely eat this, the alcohol burns off!
Crushed tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes, or canned whole plum tomatoes, but break them up with your hands as you add them to the pot.
Fennel: Omit if needed
Pearl onions: Frozen pearl onions work if you can’t find fresh! Or you could add another onion to the pot when you sauté the soffritto if you can’t find pearl onion. Or omit.
Cremini mushroom: FYI cremini mushrooms are also called baby bellas. You could also use shiitake or any other white mushroom. Just omit if you’re a mushroom hater!
Parsley, rosemary, and sage: If you’re out of one, swap out more of the other one/two herbs.
Sour cream: Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt! Or DF sour cream.
Fresh parsley and basil: If you can’t find one, double the other!
Prepared horseradish: Prepared horseradish and horseradish sauce are not the same thing. Prepared horseradish consists of grated horseradish, vinegar, and salt, while horseradish sauce is prepared horseradish PLUS mayo, cream, etc. to make it saucy. You can use horseradish sauce if you can’t find prepared horseradish (though it won’t be as flavorful) OR you could look for fresh horseradish and grate it yourself.
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