I walked into the local Whole Foods the other day without a clue as to what to make for dinner. I made my way to the meat department and saw some beautiful cuts of beef round that are normally used for Milanesa, and “bing”, a light bulb went off in my head, “I know, I will make Braciole.” Braciole, also known as Braciola, is a wonderfully flavored beef dish that hails from, you guessed it, Italy. Braciole is always a crowd pleaser. I haven’t met anyone who’s tried this dish, and said that they don’t like it, even my picky children. The great thing about this dish is that there are no set rules as to what you need to put in the filling. The filling can vary greatly. You can add pine nuts, or prosciutto, raisins, hard boiled eggs. The only ingredients that are a must is the bread crumbs, parsley, olive oil, salt & pepper.
4 nice sized beef round cutlets no thicker than 1/2 an inch
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of wine
2 slices of Provolone, cut into strips
2 hard boiled eggs
3 cups of a good basic tomato sauce or 3 cups of strained tomatoes
1 heavy bottomed pot
Place bread crumbs, minced garlic, chopped parsley, grated Parmesan, grated Pecorino, diced hard boiled eggs, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a mixing bowl.
Take your beef round cutlets and place on a chopping board. Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly on to the flat cutlets of beef.
now take the strips of Provolone cheese and lay across the cutlets
Roll the filled beef cutlets tightly and tie with twine
Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and add the rolled beef. Brown on all sides.
Add 1 cup of dry white wine and bring to a boil.
Add 3 cups of of strained tomatoes, or marinara sauce if you have some. I like using Bionatura Organic strained tomatoes.
Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Check on it frequently. If the sauce starts to reduce too much, add some water. Cook for 2 hours. If cooked for longer than 2 hours it’s not a problem. This can be cooked for up to 4 hours on low heat.
Remove from sauce and slice with a sharp knife into 1/2 inch rolls.
Cooking instructions recap: Take 3/4 cup of bread crumbs, 1/2 grated Pecorino Romano, 2/3 cup Parmesan, a minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian parsley, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. This is where you can add other ingredients too. For the one I made, I added 2 hard boiled eggs. Another popular ingredient to add is pine nuts or golden raisins. Take your beef round that’s cut thin and place on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Some use flank steak that has been pounded thin, but I find that the beef round comes out more tender and is easier to roll. Take your bread crumb mixture and spread evenly onto your meat. Take some Provolone cheese and cut into strips and across the beef. Roll the beef and tie tightly with twine. I tie them on both ends so they don’t fall apart. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and brown well on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Add a cup of dry white wine and heat till the wine starts evaporating. Add 3 cups of strained tomatoes or marinara sauce. (You can remove the browned beef rolls and put a diced onion into the bottom of your pot and saute till wilted and then add the 3 cups of strained tomatoes and place the meat back.) Both ways work well. Bring the tomato sauce to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 2 hours. Check on it frequently and baste. If you find that the sauce starts to reduce too much, add a little water. Once done, remove from pot and slice into 1/2 rolls using a sharp knife. I like serving it with fettuccine. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and enjoy!