Beef Braciole
Beef Braciole
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Beef braciole stuffed with breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, pine nuts, and raisins simmered in tomato sauce is a hearty and delicious Italian-American meal.

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes hand crushed or blender pulsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water plus more if required to thin sauce

For the braciole

  • 2 pounds top round
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley minced
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup raisins or currants soaked in water then drained
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • olive oil for shallow frying
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine optional, see notes below
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS 

For the sauce

  1. Heat a large pot to a touch less than medium heat with the extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion and cook until soft (about 7-10 minutes) then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, spreading the paste around with a wooden spoon. If it starts to burn, add a few ounces of water.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and cook for 2 minutes while scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits.
  4. Add the plum tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover with the lid left slightly ajar, and lower the heat to the lowest level so that the sauce is barely bubbling. You can season with a touch of salt right now, but it's best to wait since the sauce will reduce and concentrate.

For the braciole

  1. Heat a small pan to medium heat with the extra virgin olive oil and add the garlic. Once lightly golden, add the pine nuts and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, and raisins. Mix well until a paste forms. Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the Pecorino Romano, and set aside.
  2. Filet the top round to a 1/2" thick. Cut the beef into rectangles approximately 3×4 inches. Pound each rectangle to roughly a 1/4" thick which will make them substantially larger.
  3. Arrange the pounded meat on a cutting board and season the with salt and pepper.  Leaving some space around the edges, evenly spread the paste onto each piece.
  4. You should have a thin layer of the mixture on each piece of meat.  Roll each piece tightly and secure them with toothpicks or kitchen twine. 
  5. Heat a large pan to a touch less than medium heat with olive oil.  Sear the pieces on all sides, working in batches if required to not overcrowd the pan.
  6. After the braciole are seared, add each one to the pot of sauce. If the pan isn't burnt, pour off the fat from the pan and deglaze with the remaining 1/2 cup of dry red wine. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour the pan juices into the pot of sauce and mix to incorporate.
  7. Cook for 2-3 hours, or until fork tender, on very low heat with the lid left slightly ajar, making sure to stir the sauce occasionally.  If the sauce dries out during the cooking process, add a 1/2 cup of water or more as needed. Alternative method: Cover the pot and place it in the center of the oven at 300f for 2-3 hours or until tender.
  8. Once tender, remove the braciole from the sauce and cut away the twine or remove the toothpicks.  Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve with pasta, grated cheese, and crusty bread. Enjoy!

NOTES

  • Besides top round, bottom round, eye of round, flank steak, or sirloin can be used.  They should all be pounded flat to 1/4″ thick for easy rolling.  
  • Kitchen twine will hold more securely, but toothpicks work well and are far easier to remove.
  • If the pan is burnt (very black) after searing the braciole,  forgo deglazing the pan.  If you want to try it anyway, simply deglaze and taste the mixture, checking for a burnt flavor, before adding it to the sauce.  
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.  It will taste even better the next day.  Just reheat on a stovetop until completely heated through.  Freeze for up to 3 months.

 

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