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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Individual Braciole

There are probably as many different braciole recipes out there as there are chefs to cook them!

Different fillings, different preparation methods--adjust the fillings to suit your taste.

I keep my filling really simple--just garlic, parsley and romano cheese.  Just enough to season the beef!

If you google "braciole" you'll find lots of different variations.  I like to cut the flank steak into individual portions, which goes against the grain--pun intended, ha!--of some purists.  Others butterfly the steak so there is one huge, albeit thinner, steak to roll up.  Some people add pine nuts, additional spices, bread crumbs, sliced cheese, sausage or prosciutto.  I'm sure I left out lots of other possible additions.  Feel free to fill your braciole with whatever ingredients you like!

Today's Playlist
  • "Learn To Fly"...Foo Fighters
  • "Another One Bites the Dust"...Queen
  • "Should I Stay Or Should I Go"...The Clash
  • "Troublemaker"...Weezer
  • "Back Against the Wall"...Cage the Elephant
  • "The Denial Twist"...The White Stripes
  • "Love and Affection"...Neon Trees
  • "Chelsea Dagger"...The Fratellis

Individual Braciole (Total time, prep and cook: about 3 hours  Serves:6)

Braciole Ingredients:
  • 2 lb flank steak
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 12 cloves roasted garlic (or use 8 cloves fresh unroasted garlic instead)
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
also needed: baker's twine or toothpicks

Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • Two 28-oz cans whole Italian tomatoes
  • salt & pepper, to taste
serve with pasta

Gather your ingredients.  (Missing from the picture: wine and the second can of tomatoes.  I was in such a hurry to get started that I took the picture before I realized that I hadn't yet gone down into my basement to retrieve the stuff I don't have room for in my fridge/pantry the remaining ingredients.)

Remove all visible fat from the flank steak.

Pound the steak with a meat mallet.

Using a very sharp knife, cut off individual cutlets against the grain.  Aim for the cutlets to be about 4 or 5 inches wide.  Cut against the grain--make sure the grain of the steak in front of you is running horizontally, hold the knife vertically and slice diagonally.  Sounds more complicated than it is!  Just look at the above picture and you should understand--I'm not slicing down through the steak, I'm slicing across, at a downward angle.

Continue until you've turned your flank steak into cutlets.  I was able to get 6 large cutlets and two little scraps.

To make the filling: put the fresh parsley and grated romano into your food processor.

Add the roasted garlic cloves.  You can find my directions for roasted garlic here.  (You could use fresh garlic instead, but use less--about 8 cloves--because it's a much stronger flavor than roasted garlic.)

Pulse a few times, just to chop and mix the ingredients.  Stream in about a tablespoon of olive oil while you do this. to help the mixture hold together. No more than a tablespoon, however, because you don't want the mixture to be runny!

Plop a spoonful of the parsley mixture onto each cutlet.

Use your hands to spread the mixture evenly.  You may think you can avoid messy hands by using a knife or a spoon to spread the mixture, but trust me: nothing works as well or as quickly as your hands!

Season with salt and pepper, and roll 'em up!

Roll up the cutlets tightly enough so that the filling won't fall out, but not so tight that the sauce won't be able to penetrate when you simmer them.   To roll the cutlets, start rolling from the narrowest end, making sure that the grain of the steak runs from top to bottom of your finished roll.


Use toothpicks or baker's twine to secure the rolls.  

Lightly brush with olive oil, covering the entire roll.

Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large saucepan or dutch oven on your stovetop to medium/high heat.

Cook the braciole in two batches. until they are browned on all sides.  Don't worry about cooking the inside. you will be simmering them in sauce for 2 to 2 1/2 hours and they will cook while they simmer.  

Remove the first batch of browned braciole to a plate while you cook the next batch.

You can see the bottom of the pan is getting nicely browned!  Good stuff, it will add great flavor to the sauce.  You will need about 2 quarts of sauce, enough to cover the braciole while it simmers.

You can use sauce that you already have. or you can quickly make your own.  If you're making your own, begin the prep as the braciole is browning.

Chop the onion.

If you want a smooth sauce. quickly buzz the tomatoes in your blender or food processor.  If you'd rather a chunky sauce, you could simply mash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon when you add them into the pan.

Smooth sauce is what we like in this house!

After the second batch of braciole has browned, remove them from the pan and onto the plate with the first batch.  Lower the heat to medium, and add the chopped onion to the pan.

Stir the onion for a few minutes. until it softens and is barely starting to brown. 

Add the red wine.  Give it a stir and it should quickly loosen up all of the browned goodness on the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the tomatoes.  Since my blender can only handle one can of tomatoes at a time, I quickly buzzed the second can as well, before adding it to the pan.

Sprinkle in the oregano.

Give it a stir to blend in the oregano.  Bring the sauce to a boil, and then lower the heat to a low simmer.

Carefully place your braciole into the sauce.

Push them down so they are completely submerged.  Let them simmer on low heat for at least two hours, until the meat is tender and oh-so-yummy-you-can-hardly-stand-it.  I want to say that in my experience, they're perfect after 2 1/2 hours.

But you know when they're really perfect?  The next day!  Why is that? There are some things that I cook--soups, stews--that are so much better after they sit in the fridge overnight.  Add braciole to that list.  I'm not saying it's not good the day that you make it--because it is--but the next day, it is something entirely other.

I usually taste the sauce for seasoning about halfway through the cooking time.  It definitely is going to need salt and pepper!

Almost done!  If you're going to serve your braciole with pasta, now would be the time to boil some salted water.  Prepare the pasta al dente, according to package directions.

 Serve the braciole with the pasta, sprinkled with romano & parsley.


1 comment:

  1. Oh my word how did I miss this one! It is time for bed but now I'm starving, lol. A must try, thanks Fran!


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