Beef Braciole, also known as “Braciola,” is a classic Italian dish with regional variations across Italy. Traditionally, it’s a dish of meat (beef, pork, or chicken) that is rolled with cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, and sometimes, pine nuts, then braised in a tomato sauce. It’s often served as a second course, after pasta, in a typical Italian Sunday dinner. This dish is well-known for its rich, savory flavors and tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
In our recipe, we’ll focus on Beef Braciole, showing you how to create this delectable dish at home. Enjoy the journey of bringing a piece of Italian tradition to your table!
The Beef Braciole is traditionally served as a second course in Italian meals, following a pasta dish. However, it is versatile and can be served in a variety of ways:
- With Pasta: The tomato sauce created during the cooking process makes a perfect accompaniment to pasta. Serve a portion of pasta on each plate, top with a slice of the Beef Braciole, and spoon over some of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.
- With Crusty Bread: The savory tomato sauce also pairs well with crusty bread. Serve a slice of Beef Braciole with bread on the side to dip into the sauce.
- On its own: Beef Braciole can be a star of the show all by itself. Serve a slice with a drizzle of the sauce on top, accompanied by a fresh salad or steamed vegetables.
Remember to garnish your dish with some fresh parsley or basil for an extra touch of color and freshness.
- 4 slices of beef round or flank steak (about 1.5 lbs), pounded thin
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 1 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Kitchen twine, for securing the rolls
For the Tomato Sauce:
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (28 oz) of crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Prepare the Beef: Begin by laying out the beef slices on a clean working surface. If the slices are not thin enough, use a meat mallet to pound them until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper.
- Make the Stuffing: In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and pine nuts (if using). Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Stuff the Beef: Spoon a portion of the stuffing onto one end of each beef slice. Make sure not to overfill as you need to roll the beef slices later. After adding the stuffing, roll up the beef slices, starting from the end with the stuffing.
- Secure the Rolls: Use kitchen twine to secure each roll, tying it around the roll a few times and making sure to tie the ends well. This prevents the stuffing from spilling out during the cooking process.
Cooking the Beef Braciole
- Brown the Beef Braciole: In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef rolls to the pan and brown them on all sides. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Once they're browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Prepare the Sauce: In the same pan, add the chopped onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, red wine, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and season with salt and black pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Cook the Beef Braciole: Once the sauce is simmering, add the browned beef braciole back into the pan. Cover and let it simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Remember to turn the beef rolls every 30 minutes to ensure they cook evenly and absorb the sauce's flavor.
- Remove the Twine: After the cooking time is over, use a pair of kitchen shears to carefully cut and remove the twine from each beef roll.
- Rest and Slice: Allow the beef braciole to rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. This will make the beef easier to slice and will allow the flavors to settle.
Congratulations on preparing this delicious Italian classic – Beef Braciole! We hope you enjoyed the process as much as we loved guiding you through it. Remember, the best part about cooking is making it your own, so don’t hesitate to experiment with flavors and ingredients.
We look forward to hearing about your experience, tweaks, and suggestions. Enjoy your meal, or as they say in Italy, “Buon appetite!”