Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast

This Italian-style pot roast requires a little bit of prep work prior to putting it in the slow cooker, but the robust flavor and juicy, fork-tender results are worth the initial effort. We like it sliced and served over our Creamy Polenta as a tasty change from potatoes. A glass of red wine and a salad are all you need to complete the meal.

Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast

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Sautéed pancetta, balsamic vinegar, garlic, onion and tomatoes lend this tender, meaty pot roast an Italian flair.


  • 2 to 2-1/2 lb chuck roast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 1/4-inch thick slices pancetta, diced
  • 4 to 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  • Coat the ceramic interior of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and spread the carrots across the bottom.
  • Season both sides of the roast liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Film the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil and add the diced pancetta. Sauté over medium heat until the pancetta is lightly browned, then, using a slotted spatula, transfer it to a plate and set aside.
  • Leave the oil and any fat from the pancetta in the pan and brown the chuck roast lightly on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes total. Set the roast in the center of the slow cooker on top of the bed of carrots.
  • Add the onion to the pan and sauté until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper, and continue cooking until the onion is light golden in color, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper, then deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits that may have accumulated on the bottom.
  • Return the pancetta to the pan, stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Combine well, then pour the mixture over the pot roast.
  • If the liquid level doesn’t come within 1/2-inch of the top of the roast, add a little more chicken broth. It is not necessary that the roast be submerged in the liquid.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours.
  • Transfer the pot roast to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • To serve, arrange slices of beef over a plated portion of our Creamy Polenta and spoon a generous helping of carrots and sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Tips for Making This Recipe

The leftovers from this roast make a great Bolognese-style meat sauce to serve over pasta. Simply shred the meat with 2 forks, mash any leftover carrots into the sauce and reheat, adding extra tomato paste or sauce and adjusting the seasoning as needed. Toss with cooked penne or rotini and top with grated cheese.
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