Chef 101 Eve Makes: Italian Pot Roast

Planning ahead I knew that when Ed and I came home from the Rhone Rangers tasting in June we would be too tired to cook so I looked for a crock pot recipe we could make up in the morning, and serve over pasta that night.  This pot roast recipe, from Better Homes and Gardens, had us toasting fennel seeds and cutting fennel bulb for the first time.  More than worth it, the flavor of the fennel – along with the other fresh vegetables and spices – did just the trick for boring jarred sauce.  My changes to the recipe are below in italics as usual:

3 pound boneless beef chuck pot roast
1teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and crushed (Used my old small coffee bean grinder!)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and cut into thin wedges
3 medium carrots, halved lenthwise and bias-sliced in 2-inch lengths (1-1/2 cups)
1 large onion, cut into thin wedges (1 cup)
1 26 ounce jar pasta sauce
2 – 3 cups hot cooked penne pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Trim fat from roast. In a small bowl, combine garlic salt, fennel seed, and pepper; rub into roast on all sides. In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine fennel, carrot, and onion. Place roast on top. Pour pasta sauce over roast in cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5 hours. Reserve one-third of the roast and 2 cups of the sauce… (We didn’t “reserve” anything but we stored a pint for another meal!) Toss pasta with parsley (I served parsley at table for my family to decide to use). Serve remaining roast and sauce over hot pasta mixture. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings and reserves.