Do You Know Braciole Like I Know Braciole? Oh, Oh, Oh What A Dish!

The first thing you need to know (if you are not Italian) is how to pronounce this Italian meat dish. When in an Italian restaurant I’ve heard people order “bra-key-o-lee”. Here’s a YouTube pronunciation that gives the word a different spin Braciola. The version I found most like what I know from my upbringing is this one. You have to click on the arrow to hear the woman say the word. And the American version is most like saying “brajole”.

Really, pronouncing this delicious Italian dish is the hardest part of the recipe. But wait, as a fan of the former TV sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” I had a laughing fit when I saw this episode on braciole. Click here for a priceless clip of the scene.

Basically, braciole is just meat or pork, pounded out thin and stuffed with cheese, garlic, parsley, and nuts and simmered in a tomato sauce. Once the ingredients are put together this recipe could be adapted for a slow cooker or instant pot if you didn’t want to let it simmer on the stovetop.

Pine nuts are a favorite of mine, so happy this recipe uses them as a stuffing ingredient. 

Somewhere in a former blog posting I may have mentioned flattening chicken breasts with my Ram Van. In case you missed that blog: we used to have a Ram Van (side note, who names these vehicles? It almost makes me think we need to “ram” things with the van because of its name, right?) Anyway, I used to flatten out chicken breasts or meats by running over it with the van. Simple, quick and easy! Of course, I would protect the food item with plastic wrap, in a ziplock bag, between a few layers of towels. And I’ve heard more than one person yell “lunch” out of their car window when they see roadkill, so why not use a van as a flattening tool?

I really do miss that old Ram Van when there is a recipe that calls for pounding or flattening the meat. Now I do it the old-fashioned way, with a rubber mallet. I work out a few frustrations at the same time, trying not to flatten the meat too much on a particularly challenging day. 

I had to use regular ham today. I ran out of prosciutto. While the flavor wasn’t exactly the same, it was quite good.Put the cheese nut mixture on top and roll. You could secure the rolls with toothpicks or string. I prefer string so you don’t have to pick out broken toothpick bits, says someone from experience. 

Brown the meat rolls in a fry pan with olive oil. 

Making the tomato sauce is just a matter of cutting the vegetables, sautéing,  and adding tomatoes to the pan. Put the meat rolls back in and simmer away.

Simmering the braciole several hours in a robust tomato sauce fills the house with delicious aromas as well as cooks the meat to melt-in-your-mouth perfection. 

I love my new sign that I found in Jacksonville, Oregon – a former mining town near Ashland. I think it has a new home above my cooktop.

Beef Braciole

Yields 4 servings

Author: Italian Chef Phil Torre

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Ingredients

  • • 1 pound boneless beef round, cut into 4 thin slices approximately ? inch thick
  • • 4 slices of prosciutto (or thinly sliced ham)
  • • 1 tablespoon pignoli beans(pine nuts)
  • • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
  • • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
  • • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
  • • 2 celery stalks, chopped chopped fine
  • • 1 cup dry red wine
  • • 2 28oz cans Italian tomatoes (San Marzano or romas / plum)
  • • 2 bay leaves
  • • 3 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • • flour spread on a plate for dredging
  • • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place each slice of beef between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat pounder or rubber mallet until ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each one.
  2. Mix together the the pin nuts, pecorino romano cheese, garlic and parsley and sprinkle evenly on top of the beef slices with prosciutto.
  3. Roll up the slices, tucking in the ends and tie with kitchen string.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  5. Dredge the braciole in flour shaking off any excess, then place in the pan. (I skipped this step and they still came out great.)
  6. Cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and keep to the side.
  7. If needed add some more olive oil to the pan then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the red wine and cook, stirring up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
  9. Crush the tomatoes and add, with their juices, into the saucepan. Fill one of the tomato cans ½ way with water and pour in. Add the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Put the braciole back into the sauce, turn heat to low and cook at a simmer until beef is tender 1.5 – 2 hours.
  11. Sprinkle the basil over the rolls, and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  12. Serve with generous portion of sauce and side dish of pasta of your choice.
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