Braciole - Awesome Italian Cooking!
I’ve been experimenting with braciole and other types of Italian Cooking lately. As I’ve said before, Italian food recipes are among my husband’s favorite foods, and I like them, too. In fact, my entire family enjoys Italian cooking, and even the grandkids like more than just pizza. The Italian cooking ingredients and seasonings we like best include garlic, olive oil, olives, Italian sausage, prosciutto cotto, capocollo, rosemary, and basil. And I can’t think of a single Italian cheese that we don’t enjoy. I've even managed to make some low carb Italian for myself. Some of our favorite Italian recipes are lasagna, steak Florentine, seafood Alfredo, pansoti, and Sicilian pizza. We also like Italian desserts, including tiramisu, granita, struffoli, and pandoro. And, by the way, braciole is quickly becoming one of our favorites, too. We don’t have any Italian restaurants in our small town, unless you count pizza parlors. If we want Italian, I have to make it myself or go out of town to enjoy it. That’s why I’ve had to learn to make Italian food recipes at home, including braciole.
From what I’ve been told by a Sicilian member of my extended family, there are many, many Italian recipes for braciole. It seems that each family has its own special braciole recipes, according to the ingredients they like best and on what’s available at the time. Basically, the dish is a flat piece of meat that’s stuffed, rolled up, browned in olive oil, and baked or braised. Meats vary, but beef braciole is probably the most common. Other meats used include veal, pork, and chicken.
Braciole can range in size from individual serving sizes to ones large enough to feed a whole family. Obviously, braciole made with a pounded chicken breast is going to be smaller. The stuffing ingredients vary widely, too. Some type of bread is often used. This might be Italian bread cubes or bread crumbs. Sometimes the bread cubes are first soaked in milk. Cheese is usually included in the stuffing – pecorino Romano, Asiago, provolone, mozzarella, or Parmigiano-Reggiano. Meats like prosciutto, Italian sausage, or capocollo might be added to the stuffing, too.
Other than the basics, lots of other ingredients can be found in a typical recipe for braciole. Pine nuts, onion, pesto, bell pepper, spinach, mushrooms, and hard boiled eggs are often included. Currants, orange zest, or raisins are occasionally added to provide some sweetness. When it comes to herbs and spices, you’re most likely to find basil, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and black pepper.
The table below will give you some ideas for how to make braciole.
Italian Braciole - Suggestions
Meats for Roll
Spieces and Herbs
beef flank steak
Italian bread cubes
beef top sirloin
Italian bread crumbs
beef round steak
plain bread crumbs
beef skirt steak
beef London broil roast
boneless veal breast
boneless pork loin
butterflied pork tenderloin
crumbled Italian sausage
center cut lamb steaks
boneless chicken breast
red pepper flakes
Tips for Making Braciole
One thing you’ll need to consider before shopping for braciole ingredients is how big you want your meat roll to be. If you’re making beef braciole, sizes can really vary. For small rolls, I sometimes use very thin slices of top sirloin, and those don’t have to be pounded. For a big roll, flank steak is a good choice. If you’re buying flank steak, try to find a piece that’s in a rectangle shape. And remember, it’s going to be significantly bigger once it’s pounded.
One you make your stuffing, you’re going to spread it evenly over the flattened meat. Don’t cover the entire surface. Leave a couple of inches “naked” at the top of the roll. That will help the meat roll better, and stuffing won’t escape. Also, pay attention to how you roll the meat. Go with the grain. When you’re standing in front of the steak, make the grain run from left to right, and roll the meat away from you. That way, when you slice the meat roll, you’ll be cutting across the grain.
When tying the roll, don’t squeeze it too tightly. When the braciole is done, let it rest for about ten minutes before slicing. I’ve found that if I turn the meat roll over and slice from the bottom side, the slices are cleaner.
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- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- olive oil
- 2-pound flank steak
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- marinara sauce
- Soak raisins in ½ cup hot water until plumped.
- While raisins are plumping, add bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, and garlic to a mixing bowl. Drain raisins and add to the mixture. Combine ingredients. Add enough olive oil to moisten.
- Place flank steak on cling wrap or waxed paper. Cover with cling wrap and pound meat with a mallet until steak is about ¼-inch thick all over.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread stuffing evenly over meat, leaving two or three inches of bare steak at the top.
- Roll steak up and tie with string.
- Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and brown meat roll.
- Transfer roll to a lidded roaster. Deglaze skillet with wine. Add 2 bay leaves and pour over meat.
- Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 90 minutes.
- Remove braciole from pan and place on a serving platter to rest.
- Remove bay leaves from liquid. Add liquid to marinara sauce.
- Remove strings and slice braciole. Ladle marinara sauce over slices.