These braciole are beef rolls filled with prosciutto, provolo and a bread stuffing with chopped egg, parsley, garlic and pecorino.
The braciole braise in San Marzano tomatoes to create a sauce with deep rich flavors and a brick red color.
In Italy the sauce is typically used to dress pasta as a first course followed by the braciole accompanied by a vegetable.
The sauce fills the house with the aroma of sweet tomatoes, garlic and oregano. You know long before the meal that you’re in for a treat.
The braciola is fork tender. The prosciutto and provolo add salty zest. Every bite is a surprise, a sweet raisin here, a crunchy pine nut there, all hidden in the rich bread and chopped egg filling.
I quickly sauteed baby spinach in extra virgin olive oil with a touch of butter and a smashed garlic clove, the spinach a mellow interlude to the complexly flavored braciole and oregano-scented tomato sauce.
I love meat roll-ups. Watch me make another kind of beef braciola and a pork braciola as part of my Sunday Gravy video episode. And here’s a tasty recipe for quick veal scaloppine bundles stuffed with mozzarella and basil.
- For the Braciole
- 6 thin beef slices, about 6 by 8 inches and about ½ inch thick. Pound the beef if necessary to get the right shape and thickness. (I use thinly sliced sirloin when I want to cut the braising time. Minute or flank steaks or bottom round slices work well but will need at least 2 hours to braise.)
- 2 cups stale bread, crust removed and cubed
- ⅓ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 boiled eggs, chopped
- ⅓ cup grated pecorino or parmigiano
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat parsley, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ pound thinly sliced prosciuto
- ¼ pound provolo or provolone, cut into 1 inch strips
- For the Sauce
- 28-ounce canned San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, cut into a small dice
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅛ teaspoon chili flakes
- Put the stale bread in a bowl and cover with water.
- When the bread is soft squeeze out the water and put the bread in a large bowl.
- Put the eggs in a pot and cover with water. Over high heat bring the water to a boil. When the water boils shut off the heat, cover the pot and let the eggs sit in the water for 12 minutes so they're hard boiled.
- When the eggs are cool enough to handle remove the shell and roughly chop the eggs.
- Add the onion, garlic, chopped egg, raisins, pine nuts, parsley, grated pecorino, 1 tablespoon olive oil and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Lay the beef out on a working surface.
- Cover each slice with a thin slice of prosciutto. Tap the prosciutto all over with the back of a chef's knife so it adheres to the beef.
- Spread the stuffing evenly over all of the beef slices. (Leave an inch border around the edges so the stuffing doesn't spill out.)
- Place a strip of provolo near the end of the beef slice.
- Tightly roll up each beef slice starting at the end with the provolo.
- Attach a toothpick through the braciole to hold it together while cooking. Or tie the braciole tightly with string at each end.
- Sprinkle the braciole with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Put a pot over medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot add the braciole and brown them all over. (Lower the heat if necessary so the braciole don't burn.)
- Set the braciole aside on a plate.
- Put the onions, garlic and chili flakes in the pot and sauté until the onions are translucent. (Be sure to scape up the fond, the dark bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.)
- Add the tomato paste and toast in the oil until its color darkens.
- Add the oregano and bay leaf and mix all the ingredients well.
- Add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a low simmer.
- Put the braciole and any juices that collected on the resting plate back in the pot.
- Braise the braciole covered by the sauce until the braciole are fork tender, at least an hour or as long as 2½ hours depending the cut of beef you used.
- When tender, slice the braciole in 2 inch slices.
- Put some sauce on a serving platter.
- Lay out the braciole slices and top with additional sauce.