Braciole

*Story, recipe and photos from customer Chris J*

"My first introduction to “braciola” was in McCloud, a town in Northern California founded in the late 19th century by Italian craftsmen and populated with their Italian families. By the time I arrived the population was about 1200 first and second generation Italians and very few non-Italians. Great community with many traditional customs and fantastic food.

 

Perhaps one of the best cooks in town was my girlfriend’s grandmother, Nona Cattani. The population did a lot of hunting and fishing in the 1960s and 70s and Nona Cattani excelled in preparation of venison. She would prepare these little “roulade” (pronounced “roll-ah-ti”) using thin venison steaks, pounded thin and stuffed with bacon, an a blessing of her chosen seasonings and then browned and simmered for hours in her best tomato Sunday Sauce. I have been able to approximate her recipe but never quite as good and her roulade and Sunday sauce over polenta. What started in Italy as “involtini” to become Nona’s “rollati” in McCloud is just one many recipes for “braciola” (pronounced like Marie Romano “brazhool”).

 

For this recipe you can use flank steak or top round, currants or raisins, and traditional Italian seasonings. I have chosen top round thinly sliced at the market, using Chef Sherri’s Herbed Cranberry Fig sauce as the basis for the stuffing."

Ingredients

  • For the roulade:

    • 4-6 slices of top round (1/8th to ¼ inch thick and about 3x8 inches in size) If using flank steak or home sliced top round you may want to pound a bit to get the shape and texture you want.

    • 4-6 slices prosciutto (or thin bacon)

    • Chef Sherri Herbed Cranberry Fig sauce

    • Pine nuts - optional

    • Currants – optional

    • Unseasoned bread crumbs

    • Sliced provolone

    • Freshly grated parmesan 

    • Salt/Pepper

  • For the sauce:

    • Medium onion chopped

    • 4-5 cloves garlic minced

    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, loosely packed

    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil, loosely packed

    • ¼ tsp oregano

    • 1 tsp salt

    • 1 tsp pepper

    • 1tsp crushed red pepper flakes

    • 24 oz tomato sauce

    • 12 oz diced tomatoes

    • 1 cup dry red wine

    • Olive oil

Directions

For the roulade:

  1. Carefully place top round slices on cutting board

  2. Place one slice of prosciutto on each top round slice (add sprinkling of pine nuts and dried currents)

  3. Sprinkle breadcrumbs to lightly cover each top round slice

  4. Add one small slice of provolone and sprinkle fresh parm on each slice

  5. Season with salt and pepper

  6. Fold any “wings” of the top round to roughly form a rectangle and roll each slice into roulade, holding together with a toothpick or two.

  7. Plate and cover. Store for 1 hour in refrigerator or overnight.

When you're ready to prepare dinner, begin making the sauce:

  1. Heat your oven to 200º

  2. Place a medium-sized dutch oven (or other covered pot) on the stovetop over medium heat; sweat onions for about 4 minutes and add garlic

  3. Continue to sauté for 3-4 minutes, until it begins to lightly brown

  4. Add all spices stirring well; sauté for another 2 minutes

  5. Add 12 oz tomato sauce and 12 oz diced tomatoes, bring to gentle boil and then reduce heat to simmer

  6. While it’s simmering, remove roulade from refrigerator and dust with flour with salt and pepper (I use a strainer to gently tap the flour and salt/pepper to dust roulade. Seems a better method than rolling in flour mix.)

  7. Heat the olive oil in a medium--sized pan over medium heat add olive oil; once it starts to shimmer, add the roulade and brown it on all sides

  8. Once browned, move roulade to the sauce and gently lower it to bottom of pot; add additional sauce to barely cover the roulade and gently stir one last time

  9. Cover and reduce heat to simmer (190-200)

  10. At this point I move the dutch oven to my oven set to bake at 200. I will let this simmer in the oven for 4-6 hours

  11. Serve with Spaghetti using sauce from roulade. Have fresh grated parmesan available as topping.