Depending on which part of Italy you’re from, Braciole (bra CHO lay) means different things. In the north it’s generally a cutlet of some kind that is cooked flat. In the south, Braciole refers to individual portions of meat rolled up with a filling or stuffing inside.
Braciolone is a big roll, which is the type I grew up eating. This is a rich and very flavorful meal. Since we didn’t eat much beef as a rule, my mother used to make it only on special occasions.
I am a proponent of preparing dishes in advance of the day I’m going to serve it, as long as it doesn’t affect the integrity of the dish. In many of my recipes the food is actually better after a day or two as the flavors blend.
Braciolone is one I definitely prepare ahead for two reasons. The first reason is because it does indeed just keep getting better. The second is because I prefer cutting the meat roll when it is cold because I get cleaner slices. I warm the sauce (I’ve kept in a separate container) and ladle some on a serving platter before arranging the warmed braciolone slices on top.
- 2/3 cup pecorino cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup provolone cheese, diced
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons currents (or raisins)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 5 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for browning meat
- 1-2 pounds beef flank steaks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3 cups marinara sauce
Chop raisins (if using instead of currants) and pine nuts.
In a medium bowl, stir the cheeses, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, raisins and pine nuts together.
Lay the flank steak flat and with a meat mallet pound to flatten a bit. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.
Spread the bread-crumb mixture evenly over the steak.
Roll the steak up like a jelly roll. Roll tightly so the filling doesn’t leak out, but not to worry if it does, it just adds more yummy goodness to the sauce. Using butcher twine, tie around the middle and ends, tucking them in as best you can. Clip the ends of the twine when finished.
In a large ovenproof pan brown the braciolone in olive oil, turning to brown all sides. This step seals in great flavor.
When brown, add wine, cook for 6-7 minutes. Carefully remove the braciolone to a plate and stir the marinara sauce into the wine. Put the meat back in the pan, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, Turning the roll every 30 minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking for 30 minutes. To serve, remember to remove the twine! I am embarrassed to say I have left a piece or two of it on.
Cut the braciolone diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. You can serve individual portions, I like to transfer it to a large serving platter and top with some of the sauce. It looks and smells amazing.