This recipe is my updated version of Grandma Angelo’s beef dish that was always served for special Italian gatherings. I use flank steak, butterflied, sprinkled with pecorino, garlic, Italian parsley, basil and prosciutto; then roll it together and braise in an Italian tomato sauce. I prefer keeping the braciole in one large roll, and then to serve it sliced and arranged on a sauced platter.
My Grandma used a beef steak, usually bottom round, and cut it in strips to make individual size bracioles – about the size of large meatballs. Back in the day they often explained bracioles to others as Italian Beef Rolls, and this is exactly how my mom posted the recipe in a spiral bound Catholic Church cookbook for my no-speaka-da-English Grandma!
Regardless of the meat used or its size, as the braciole simmers it becomes tender, mouth-watering juicy, releasing a wonderful flavor throughout the kitchen; you will know it is done when the sauce sticks to the meat and the aroma fills the air with Italian goodness.
Leftover braciole slices are excellent for a sandwich the next day!
SPECIAL NOTE: during the summer we like braising braciole outdoors; grill the rolled meat on all sides over direct heat to brown, and then using a cast iron Dutch oven, simmer, covered, in sauce over indirect heat. This method ends in a delicious smoky flavored braciole.
- 1-1/2 lb flank – butterflied
- Minced garlic – at least 4 cloves
- Chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup basil – chiffonade
- 1 cup micro-plane grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 6-8 thin sliced prosciutto
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Ground pepper (I don’t use salt here, the cheese is enough)
- Butterfly the flank (or ask the butcher to do it). Trim to square off the meat; this will make it easier for rolling. At this point decide if you would like to make one large roll or smaller rolls; if not, then divide the meat into 2-3 pieces.
- Sprinkle the interior of meat with pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, cheese and prosciutto (I don’t salt this, the cheese is enough).
- Roll the meat jellyroll fashion with the grain, so that later you will be slicing against the grain.
- Tie the roll(s) up with butcher string about every 1-1/2 inch.
- 2 pounds crushed plum tomatoes with basil
- 6-8 cloves smashed & chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper to your taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and brown the meat roll(s) on all sides.
- Add the crushed plum tomatoes and the seasonings to the browned braciole. Cover the skillet.
- Simmer the meat and sauce for 2 hours, until beef is tender when pierced with a knife. By then your kitchen should have a wonderful Italian aroma!
- When the meat is ready, place on a warmed serving platter and let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes. Cut the strings and slice about every 2 inches. Spoon some sauce over and serve.