Here is a recipe that should ring true for all Italians and lovers of home cooked Italian food!
Bracioleis simply thin sliced beef, pork, chicken or veal which has been pounded, filled tied or picked and braised. It is then simmered in a tomato sauce until it is very tender.
Braciole is easy and may be made ahead of time. The version I have here is a simple one which is rolled with garlic, Italian parsley and grated cheeses. Once you master this recipe you may get creative and try some other versions filled with slices of prosciutto, provolone, hard cooked eggs and more! I have enjoyed ones filled with pine nuts and raisins as well.
When ever I see Braciole on a menu I always order it!
Braciole (print recipe)Braciole
I made about 10 Braciole
7 lbs of choice Flank Steak (each Braciola weighed about 11 oz finished weight)
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley chopped, a good pinch for each meat roll
10 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic, or less I used 1 tablespoon per each
10 each 1/2 teaspoons of grated grana parmasan cheese
10 each 1/2 teaspoons pecorino romano
Pinch of salt for each beef roll
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper per roll
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on each
2 quarts of"gravy"
1 cup red wine
- A small slice of prosciutto, 1/2 hard cooked egg sliced, 1 tsp sweet garden peas, a slice of mozzarella or provolone
- Pesto instead of the seasonings and cheese
- In addition to Italian parsley add raisins and toasted pine nuts
- Use may also use pounded chicken or pounded pork loin.
Get creative and put in what you like how about cooked pancetta, spinach and fontina cheese?
Butterfly each large piece of flank steak in two and pound it with a meat tenderizing mallet.
Lay the butterflied pounded pieces of meat side by side on a work table and sprinkle the parsley, cheese, ground black peppercorn, salt, garlic and olive oil onto the meat.
Cut the large seasoned piece now into thirds with the grain of the meat laying horizontal facing you. Cut the meat rolls so they are slightly wider then palm of your hand.
Roll up the beef rolls tightly and fasten with a pick or tie with butcher twine, don't use sewing thread. :)
Place the tied beef Braciole in the hot oil and then cover; braise them on one side for 10 minutes on high heat then turn cover and braise to another 10 minutes.
Add the braised beef to the simmering tomato "gravy".
Add 1 cup red wine to the braising pan, scrape all the brown bits from the sides and bottom (de-glaze) and reduce by two thirds.
Add the reduced wine to the pot with the Braciole.
Cover and simmer low for 2 hours then uncover and simmer for an additional hour till sauce is reduced and thick.
Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and if you like top it with fresh chopped basil and Italian parsley!
Flashback: My father loved Braciole and my mother, Anna Marie would make it occasionally on Sundays and always for the holidays with other holiday meats like home made meatballs and sausage and in some instance pork ribs.
All of these meats would be simmering all day in a large pot of "gravy" or Naples Tomato Ragu. It was served as a side meat along with baked penne.
My father was.....well just lets say was particular in the way he liked his food prepared and over time my mother learned "the right way to make it"!
So one day my mom was making Braciole and it just happened that she was out of tooth picks to pick the rolls of beef together and there was no butchers twine in the house. Now what to do?
We all were at the dinner table and my mom set the table and placed the pasta and Braciole on the table!
We all were dished out a big plate of pasta and while this was going on I watched my father as he lovingly prepped his plate with a ritual akin to a ceremonial sacrifice to the Gods.
Pasta on the plate.....a piece of sausage, a meatball and a big piece of Braciole! He grated his cheese on top and began to get into his dinner. I watched him as he looked for the picks in the Braciole, he seemed to be perplexed?
I could see him thinking... perhaps the picks were removed for me so I can get right into it! He grabbed his fork and tried to cut into the meat! But wait....the beef would not yield to the fork!
Dad pulled on a thin thread he discovered...I think it was black or blue the same thread my mom used to hem our pants.
He began to unroll and unroll the Braciole as it spun on his plate spattering sauce on his t-shirt and face!I could see the anger well up in his face as he expressed his frustration in explicatives to my mother who just quietly sat and passive aggressively smiled!
I wanted to laugh so bad but knew that I was to his right and I didn't want to get a slap behind the head for disrespecting him! But I was laughing inside and still am as I write this post. If my mom was still with us she would be laughing too!