If you love spaghetti and meatballs (and who doesn’t) you will flip over beef braciole.
Though this dish is a bit labor intensive, the result is definitely worth it. A braciole is a thin piece of beef rolled around a delicious stuffing that has as many variations as there are Italian nanas. The first step is to ask your butcher to thinly slice a top round London Broil into thin slices (about an eighth of an inch thick).
This recipe should make 10 braciole.
2 cups of seasoned Italian bread crumbs,
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese,
4 chopped hard boiled eggs,
one bunch of chopped fresh sage,
1 finely chopped yellow onion,
6 cloves of chopped garlic,
1 quarter pound of chopped prosciutto ham,
1 cup of raisins,
2 table spoons of olive oil for frying.
You will need at least 2 quarts of your favorite Marinara sauce to cook the braciole.
Preparation: In a large pot sauté the onions, prosciutto and sage in olive oil. When they are cooked, let cool and add the chopped eggs, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and raisins and mix well. Allow enough time to cool down, so that you can easily handle the stuffing mixture.
In each piece of round steak, (about 6 inches long) drop a generous spoonful of stuffing. Roll them up and hold together with 2 toothpicks or tie with string. Toothpicks are usually an easier alternative.
Smear the braciole with a little olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. Brown them in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. This will brown and seize up the fibers in the meat so that they will hold together.
Drop the braciole into a pot of Marinara sauce to simmer for 2 hours. A really great braciole should be tender enough to be cut with the edge of a fork.
Serving: Serve over a bed of your favorite pasta cooked “Al dente”, or “to the tooth”, which means it should have a little resistance when you bite it. Add a little butter and chopped parsley to the pasta before piling on the braciole.
Wine Pairing: This magnificent dish deserves one of the finest Italian wines, an Amarone. Amarone is made from Valpolicella grapes that are dried in the sun for a week before pressing to intensify the flavor. It will enhance the flavor of the raisins and the richness of the sauce. A slightly cheaper alternative is Ripaso, which is Valpolicella wine poured over the Amarone pressings to pick up any remaining flavor.
Beef braciole is quite possibly one of the tastiest Italian slow-cooked meat dishes. The important thing is to cook it long and slow so that it breaks with just a fork. Be sure to make plenty, because it’s going to disappear in a hurry!