Braciole, pronounced bra'zhul, is a soul-satisfying dish that hails from Italy. It consists of a thin piece of meat, breadcrumbs, prosciutto, cheese and sometimes, but not always, hard-boiled eggs, all rolled up and simmered gently in tomato sauce for hours until tender. When we make braciole at our house, hard boiled eggs always make an appearance. Our kids innocently wonder how an egg made its way inside the meat!
This is a great dish to make on a chilly Sunday when you have lots of people to feed, or when you just want to have lots of leftovers. In fact, this dish exemplifies the art of stretching a little protein to feed as many people as possible.
It’s been quite some time since we made our last braciole, and we really want our kids to have memories of this impressive dish, so we decided to make it happen.
Here is how you make braciole, step by step:
1. Take a piece of flank steak (an excellent economical piece of meat), and butterfly the meat so you have a nice, long piece.
2. Season the side of the flank steak that's facing you with salt and pepper.
3. Layer on the goodness:
- First, sprinkle on a layer of breadcrumbs.
- Next you can either lay down 3 to 4 pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto, or you can sprinkle on a layer of finely chopped prosciutto.
- Add a layer of grated pecorino Romano cheese. Alternatively you can use parmesan or provolone cheese. Just make sure you don't use anything that's too melty.
- Place several fresh basil leaves on top.
- If you're using peeled, hard-boiled eggs, place them at the end closest to you.
4. Roll up the flank steak so you have a snug roulade. With the seam on the bottom, secure the roll using butchers twine. (You can do all of the above steps a day in advance!) Season the outside of the roll with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Heat a heavy, wide pan over medium heat and add grapeseed oil to coat the bottom. Sear the roll on all sides until golden brown and delicious.
6. If you have homemade tomato sauce more power to you (watch our Owner/Chef Shelley Young's how to video for tips), but if not, just pour in your favorite, jarred sauce so it comes about one inch up the sides of the roll.
7. Bring the sauce to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover, and cook in a 325° oven until tender, about 3 hours.
8. Allow the braciole to rest for about 20 minutes on a cutting board with a juice groove. Remove the twine and cut into 3/4-inch slices.
To make this dish even more delicious we boiled up some spaghetti while the braciole was resting. We then tossed the noodles with the meat-rich tomato sauce and served it alongside the braciole slices. This was one of the best meals I have had all year! You can't go wrong with these flavors and textures, and I really hope you try this at home. It's a great excuse to have some friends over! Oh, and did I mention how well this dish pairs with a delicious bottle of Chianti?!
The cold weather is right around the corner, and it's important that you arm yourself with an arsenal of warming recipes like this one. The Chopping Block is offering several cooking classes on our calendars to help you get ready for winter, including Back to Braising, Cast Iron and Crock Pot Cookery, and Stew and Ragù. We will also be bringing back our popular Braising Boot Camp in 2016.