How to Make Braciole Recipe and Video
Braciole is a classic Italian family dish that varies based on where your family was from in Italy – and really what is in your refrigerator at the time in which you want to make it. I have made this braciole recipe so many times that I feel compelled to share a few secrets with you.
Simply the thought of fall weather makes me pull out my long sleeve t-shirts, get my sage ready, and prepare some root vegetables. I love fall. It means school is back in session, holidays are around the corner and I get to prepare heartier meals. As much as I love the lighter menus, there is nothing better than a meal that’ll stick to you ribs. To me, the perfect example of this is one of the great dinner recipes: Braciole.
Here is a picture of braciole that has been put in between a buttery roll for the perfect party appetizer:
How to Make Braciole
Braciole is a classic Italian family dish that varies based on where your family was from in Italy – and really what is in your refrigerator at the time in which you want to make it. Aunt Norma simply made her beef braciole recipe with steak, salt pork, garlic and parsley. I was taught to make it with various cured Italian meats and cheeses. (Note: Many people do not know this, but our Aunt Norma had a cookbook based on her own cooking television show that aired between 1948 to 1955. Yes, it’s true. She is held in VERY high regard in our family – rightly so.)
Video Recipe for Braciole
Braciole is among the easy Italian recipes I make: braciole recipes can use any groceries that need to be used up, and it always tastes amazing. Quite simply put, braciole is meat wrapped in meat that is slowly braised in marinara sauce. I have stuffed flank steak with proscuitto, hot capicola, pepperoni, salami, provolone. I’ve layered it with roasted mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and fresh spinach. I’ve braised it in our family recipe sauce and even store bought tomato sauce – it is really hard to mess it up.
As my Great Aunt Norma once wrote, “Braciole (pronounced “Bra-jo-lay), are meat rolls that are often times served with one of the pastas. If made with a large surface of meat, they are sliced down.”
Braciole Recipe Tips
Flank Steak. This is my favorite cut of meat for the job. Sometimes the steak seems a little thick to roll up so I’ll butterfly it. When the meat has been butterfly cut, it will cook faster and it gives more surface area to add all the great fixings. If you aren’t comfortable
doing any form of butchery yourself you can ask the butcher to butterfly it for you. Or, ask them to place your flank steak in the cuber (tenderizer is another name for the piece of equipment) both ways. As long as you ask nicely they will most likely help you.
Butchers twine. Butchers twine is so cheap but sometimes isn’t easy to find. Almost all specialty grocery stores and butcher shops will carry it, but lately my experience has been that grocery stores have about a 50/50 chance of carrying it. If you can’t find a whole ball to buy yourself just ask the butcher department if you can buy 2-3 feet of string from them. This is more than you will probably need but it’s better to risk getting too much than too little. BUT if you have a stingy butcher and can’t find it anywhere or simply forget to buy it (which happens to the best of us), you can substitute with unflavored dental floss. (I have succumb to this at times.) It works just as well and keeps everything in place.
Sauce. Your sauce for your braciole can be homemade or store bought as long as it always covered the roast. It’s important to always have the meat covered with the sauce to ensure even cooking and flavor. If the meat is too large to add to my sauce pot I will transfer to a roasting pan and finish cooking in the oven. If you can’t completely cover it, just stay on top of it and rotate your meat every 15-20 minutes for even cooking.
Slicing. I’m not going to lie, slicing braciole gets a little messy. I always have layers of paper towels under my cutting board to catch the excess sauce that goes dripping off the sides. When it comes to slicing, the most important part about slicing is ensuring you slice in the correct direction. When slicing a flank steak you want to make sure you slice in the opposite direction of the grain. By slicing against the grain you are allowing the meat to ability to better melt in your mouth. If you cut going the same direction of the muscle it’ll involve just a little more chewing.
Sauce #2. To make braciole a complete meal, boil a pound of linguine, toss in the braising liquid and serve on the side. Always make sure to adds some of the extra sauce in a gravy boat on the side of the table for the people at the table who like it a little saucier (like my mom).
Most of the meals I had growing up took shape as Italian meals, due to my Italian father. Somehow we didn’t get to experience all of the great foods my dad was used to, as growing up I never had braciole. It wasn’t until butchery class in culinary school when Chef McGuiness taught us how to make braciole. I remember having a life-changing moment eating this amazing concoction. Since then, my dad has told me that, growing up, he always strategically stood next to the person who was in charge of slicing the meat so he would get to sample on the twine that bound the meats. (This is my most favorite part of feeding people is not only creating great memories but causing people to become nostalgic while eating.)
My first trip home from culinary school in Chicago, I made the dish and from that day forward it has been among our go-to Sunday dinner recipes, birthdays, Christmas Eve, or even nights that we know are going to be cold – braciole is made.