I love Italian food oh so much. In my little corner of Wisconsin it’s hard to get authentic Italian cuisine. You pretty much have to make it yourself; which I did.
About once a month I head down to Milwaukee to make it to one of the best Italian supermarkets in the Midwest…Glorioso’s. When I’m there I stock up. I noticed they had thinly cut pieces of flank steak in their frozen section and decided that braciole (pronounced Brah-shool) would be what I would make my family that night.
Braciole is beef that has been pounded flat and stuffed with cheese and bread crumbs. The braciole is rolled and tied and simmered in tomato sauce for a few hours (or all day in a slow cooker on low).
Let me start off by staying making braciole is a labor of love. It’s not hard to make per se, just time consuming. It is worth every bit of effort.
- 1 lb flank steak, thinly cut. If you can get your meat guy to cut it, the ideal width is 1/4 in thick.
- Kitchen twine
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 C shredded or diced mozzarella
- 1/2 grated Parmesan (Fresh if you can get it.)
- 1/2 bread crumbs
- 1/4 C pine nuts
- 4 pieces thick cut bacon, diced and browned
- 3 gloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated with a microplane
- 2 eggs, beaten
- S & P
- Tomato sauce (I had some frozen that I had made with tomatoes from my CSA share. One family sized jar of Ragu would be enough.)
You need to pound your flank steak until it’s as thin as you can get it. You can leave the steak whole and and have one big roll or you can cut your steak into portions. I opted to cut my steak into portions.
Put your meat between two pieces of wax paper and pound until thin. You will be rolling this with a filling so you don’t want it real thick. You want something that looks like this:
Once you get your flank steak pounded thin set aside in the refrigerator and get going on the filling.
In a medium sized bowl mix mozzarella, parmesan, pine nuts, bacon, bread crumbs and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix together with a fork. The filling will be thick, yet spreadable.
Take your flank steak out of the refrigerator and lay a piece down on a cutting board.
Take as much filling as desired and spread across meat leaving about 1/4 in around the edges. You don’t want to over fill or most of the filling will come out at the end when rolling.
In a large skillet, heat oil until you see wiffs of smoke. You want a good hot pan to sear your braciole.
In a dutch oven or slow cooker have your tomato sauce simmering.
Sear on all sides until you get a nice crust all the way around. Don’t worry if you get some darker spots on your meat, they will soften up and cook down while simmering in the tomato sauce.
Gently drop your browned braciole into simmering tomato sauces. Cover and let simmer. If you are simmering on a cook top, simmer for at least three hours stirring once or twice every hour. If you are simmering in a slower cooker (like I did) set it at low and simmer at least 5 hours. Stir once per hour to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
Once done, your braciole will be fork tender. Snip off the kitchen twine and serve with your favorite pasta. I like to top mine with more grated Parmesan.
I love this dish so much. I hope you do too.