Braciole


Growing up, my grandmother would make Braciole on special occasions. The time it takes to make the dish shows how much love and care she spent on making her Braciole.

Braciole just means, Italian-style roulade, a rolled and stuffed meat. It is also known as Involtini or Bruciuluni in Sicilian. The meat is typically beef, veal, or pork, pounded thin and stuffed with prosciutto, breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs.

Today I’m making mine slightly different. For the filling, I’m leaving out the prosciutto and adding golden raisins. You might ask why, prosciutto is so delicious, and you are right, I love it too! My Nana was Sicilian so it may have been that prosciutto was not as readily available as it is today. I also wanted to keep it as close to my Nana’s version as possible. In the directions below, I’ll explain where you would add the prosciutto.

I wanted to mention one more thing, Alongside the Braciole, Nana always served a salad. The pasta was served first, never together. My husband wanted his over pasta so I’m serving my Braciole today over Cavatelli.

Below is a picture of a few thin slices of prosciutto. If you choose to add prosciutto to this recipe, you’ll want 10 thin slices. They will need to be cut in half to yield 20 halves.

Start by laying down the thinly sliced beef. If you were going to use prosciutto, you would lay one of the half slices of the prosciutto on top before adding the breadcrumb filling.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (14-inch) Ronadeau Pan (braising pan/pot), 1 (8-inch) sauté pan, chef’s knife, tongs, large mixing bowl, tooth picks, small rubber spatula, 1 large plate, small whisk

Note: You’ll need 4 to 5 healthy spigs of fresh basil.
Note Optional: If you are adding prosciutto to the braciole, you’ll need 10 slices cut in half.

Ingredients:
2 3/4 pounds of Eye Round beef, scallopini-style (thinly sliced), (20 slices)
1/4 cup olive oil, reserve back 1 tablespoon

Ingredients For Filling:
Prosciutto, 20 slices cut in half, optional
1 heaping cup seasoned Italian-style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Pecornio-Romano cheese, freshly ground, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup of olive oil, if needed add 1 extra tablespoon at a time

Ingredients for Tomato Sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup of Chianti or any good red wine
1/4 cup of chicken broth, reduced-sodium or unsalted
1/4 cup of hot water
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresly ground black pepper
1 healthy sprig of fresh basil

1 pound of Cavatelli pasta, cook according to the package directions.

Directions:
Start by toasting the pine nuts. Allow to cool and set aside.

Directions For The Filling:
In a large mixing bowl add toasted pine nuts, Pecorino-Romano cheese, basil, golden raisins, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, Italian-style breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup olive oil. Mix until the filling comes together. Set aside.

Directions For Braciole:
Start by laying out 1 slice of the thin sliced eye round beef. If you are adding prosciutto, place the proscuitto on top of the sliced beef first before adding the filling. Add heaping tablespoon of the filling. Spread the filling evenly to cover. Roll the meat up tightly and secure at the seam with 2 tooth picks. Continue the process until all 20 slices are filled, rolled, and secured.

Note: To avoid overcrowding the pan, you’ll need to sear the Braciole in 2 batches.

In a preheated brasing pan/pot over medium-high heat, carefully add 1/4 of olive oil. Arrange the first 10 Braciole, seam side down to the pan. Sear for approx. 3 to 5 minutes per side. You’ll know when to turn the meat when they easily release from the pan with no resistance. Once nicely browned on both sides, transfer to a plate and continue with the second batch. Again, transfer those to a plate and set aside.

Directions For Tomato Sauce:
Drain off any excess fat leaving one tablespoon of the oil in the pan. Still over medium-high heat, add the diced onion, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Sauté, stirring frequently, the onions until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and chicken broth to deglaze the pan, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the minced garlic, cook for an additional 2 minutes, allowing the wine and broth to reduce.

Reduce the heat to low. Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes. To the same can, add 1/4 cup of hot water and granulated sugar. Using a small spatula, mix until the sugar is disolved. Scape down the sides for any crushed tomatoes left on the inside of the can. Pour this liquid into the brasing pan, stir to combine. The sugar will combat the acidity in the tomatoes. Basically, the extra liquid will thin out the sauce.

Return the Braciole back into the pan, carefully. Add 1 healthy sprig of fresh basil to the pan. Bring the sauce up to a slow bubble. Place the lid on and cook, on low heat, for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the Braciole is fork tender. During the last 15 minutes, taste the sauce for seasoning.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain well.

Start by removing the tooth picks. Arrange 5 of the Braciole over the cooked Cavatelli. Ladle over extra tomato sauce. Garnish with a good sprinkling of fresh grated Pecorino-Romano cheese and torn fresh basil leaves.

There you have it, my Braciole.

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