dinner · sides

Italian Brisket with Zucchini Stacks

A modified take on Tyler Florence’s brisket recipe and a side dish to complement any entree…

Italian Style Brisket


4 Roma tomatoes, halved
8 springs fresh thyme
1 garlic cloves, smashed and finely minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles striped from the stem and chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb brisket
Fresh cracked black pepper
6 basil leaves, shredded
2 cups carrots, rough cut
2 celery stalks, rough cut
2 small white onion, quartered
1 cups dry red wine
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Preheat oven to 300­°. Half Roma tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and place thyme stems directly over each half. Drizzle with olive oil and oven roast for about 25-30 minutes or until edges brown lightly.

Kick the heat up on oven to 325°. Combine the chopped rosemary leaves with 1/8 cup olive oil, finely minced garlic, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and about 1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper to make a thick paste. In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed large pot, add olive oil to coat bottom. Season all sides of the brisket with salt and pepper and add to hot oil to brown.

Once a good color has formed on all sides, cut the heat and evenly coat the top of the brisket with the rosemary paste mixture. Next add roasted tomatoes (with thyme stems), basil, carrots, celery, onion, canned tomatoes, wine, bay and top with parsley and more rosemary if you have it.

Top dutch oven with a lid or wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Transfer to oven for 3-4 hours cooking time, baste with sauce every 30 minutes. If liquid drops too low, add beef stock or water in small increments to keep the brisket mostly covered.

Once cooked, transfer the brisket to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Return pot to stove top, set the heat to low and use a hand blender to blend all ingredients thoroughly (remove bay leaves and herb stems first).  Add 1/4 tsp fresh red pepper flakes for a spicy kick (optional).

Serve sauce along side sliced brisket and use it in the side dish…

Zucchini Stacks


1 ‘One Ball’  zucchini, 1/4″ slices
1 red pepper, sliced in rings
1 green pepper, sliced in rings
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 cup homemade tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Season the sliced vegetables with olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Grill them on medium-hi until grill marks form, flipping once.

Next, transfer to an oiled baking dish by stacking the vegetables – zucchini on the bottom, topped with the pepper rings. Cover each stack with tomato sauce, top evenly with cheeses and bake until the brown and bubbly.

Given the current power outage due to Irene, I cooked mine covered with foil on the grill and it took about 20 minutes.

The braised brisket becomes very tender after hours of cooking and absorbs a punch of flavor from the wine and roasted tomatoes. They really work together, the sauce and the brisket, each lending their flavors to the other.  Even when topped with the rich tomato sauce, the veggies hold their own earthy flavors.  The zucchini resembles a pumpkin in looks, taste and seeds which can be removed if you are not a fan.  I think I’ll pick up a few more next week at the Farmer’s Market, stuff them with a bacon and grain combination and roast them…


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