Slow Cooker Beef with Pasta & Porcini

Pairs Well With

Serves 12


1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed just before soaking

½ cup Pedroncelli Merlot

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 pounds boneless beef chuck, rolled and tied

1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 small stalk celery, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 ½ cups Pedroncelli Merlot

1 bay leaf

1 14-ounce can Italian tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 cup beef stock

1 teaspoon dry marjoram

1 pound penne rigate

Freshly ground pepper to taste

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup chopped fresh parsley


In a small saucepan heat ½ cup Merlot and add mushrooms, cover and soak for 30 minutes off heat. Lift the mushrooms out of the liquid and transfer to a cutting board and chop. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filer or cheesecloth and reserve.

Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, pat beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over beef and immediately place in hot oil. Brown beef on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Remove beef and set in the insert of a large slow cooker.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the remaining 2 T olive oil to the skillet and swirl. Add celery, garlic, onion, carrot and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are starting to soften and brown, 3 to 6 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups Merlot and reduce about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in bay leaf, tomatoes, stock, marjoram and the reserved chopped mushrooms and soaking liquid. Pour over the beef. Optional: Cover and refrigerate overnight. If not soaking overnight continue to next step.

Cook in the slow cooker on low heat for 6 hours. Transfer the beef to a carving board, and pour the cooking liquid into a skillet to reduce.

Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until very thick, 8 to 14 minutes. Remove string from the meat. Break the beef into large chunks and discard any fat.

Meanwhile, boil penne in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Combine penne, gravy and the chunks of meat. Toss to coat. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan.