Braciole is a traditional meat dish served for an Italian Sunday Supper or special holiday with the family. Classic Braciole is essentially flank steak filled with Italian cheeses, breadcrumbs and other special ingredients rolled up, tied into a bundle, and simmered in Marinara Sauce for hours. The sliced meat is served separately on a platter, and the rich and meaty sauce is used for pasta on the side. This is Italian comfort and celebration food at its best!
We had the great fortune to spend this past Sunday with friends of ours whose extended family of 17 gets together every Sunday for dinner at Grandma’s house! I felt at home! I showed them how to make this classic Italian Sunday Supper. I had lots of help in the kitchen, and enjoyed sipping on the host’s outstanding Italian red wine while preparing the food. The meal was served buffet-style and we were able to eat outside to enjoy the first perfect spring day in Chicago. We also simmered Chicken Pecorino Meatballs and Italian Sausage in the sauce for a full platter of Italian meats along with the side of pasta. The perfect counter balance was a crisp Sicilian Blood Orange & Fennel Salad with Citrus Mint Dressing.
My three-layer Classic Tiramisu was served for a sweet treat at the end of the meal.For me, this day was the essence of Sunday Supper. In the end it really is about the family being together and oh yeah, there was some good food & wine too.
Every Italian family has their own version of Braciole. Some recipes fill the meat roll with a hard-boiled egg, others use pine nuts and raisins, almost always there is a layer of prosciutto and provolone cheese. Some use round steak instead of flank steak or even pork or chicken. My Grandmother made Braciole by creating little individual bundles of meat. I have found that making one large tied up bundle is easier, and slices well after is cools a bit.
My signature version of Braciole is to add artichoke hearts to the center of the roll with a simple breadcrumbs, Romano/Parmesan cheese and garlic filling. Not only do the artichokes give a wonderful surprise in the center, but adds one more depth of flavor to the meat and sauce. The whole piece is rolled up like a jelly-roll and tied into a tidy bundle.
This recipe serves a large family. Yes, it is a lot of steps. but get some family in the kitchen to help you and it is worth it! The smell of the wonderful meat sauce simmering away fills the house with anticipation for a great Italian meal.Click on the links to get all the recipes. Mangia!
Braciole Stuffed with Artichoke Hearts
- 2 2 ½ - 3 pounds flank steak, 10-inch long
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cup parmesan freshly grated plus more for serving at the table
- ¾ cup Romano grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for searing
- 8 oz prosciutto thinly sliced
- 8 ounce fontina thinly sliced
- 2 15 ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained
- 3 quarts Marinara Sauce homemade or store bought
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 pounds pasta Bucatini or Penne
- In a small bowl, add breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, black & red peppers, garlic, parmesan and romano cheeses, and olive oil and mix to combine. This will be enough for two rolled flank steaks.
- Drain the artichokes on a paper towels and gently squeeze to get them as dry as possible.
- Butterfly each flank steak with a thin knife and pound with a meat mallet until even all around. You should end up with 2 10-inch long rectangles. Sprinkle the steaks with salt.
- For each flank steak, cut 4 pieces of butchers string long enough to tie around the rolled meat. Lay the 4 strings on a board. Place your flattened flank steak on top of the strings. Cut 2 pieces of butcher’s string long enough to wrap twice around the flank steak lengthwise. Set aside until ready to tie the rolled meat.
- To prepare one braciole, lay overlapping slices of half of the prosciutto on top of the flank steak covering the surface. Next lay half of the slices of fontina cheese over prosciutto. Spread half the breadcrumb cheese mixture on top of the cheese. Next place half of the artichoke hearts in a row towards the top end where you will start the rolling. This way the artichokes will be in the center when you finish rolling. Pack down the artichokes into the breadcrumbs with your hand. This will make it easier to roll.
- Starting with the long side, carefully roll the flank steak like a jelly roll, keeping all the filling in the roll. Tie the two end pieces of string to hold the roll together while you tie up middle two. Take one of the long pieces of string and tie up the roast from end to end, wrapping twice. Repeat with the other long string. If you need to tie it up more go ahead to ensure it is secure. Cut off all the loose ends for a tidy bundle.
- Repeat the stuffing and rolling process with the second flank steak.
- In a large skillet on your stovetop, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add the two rolled meat bundles and sear on all sides. The caramelized brown bits will add great flavor to the sauce. You may have to sear them one at a time if they don’t both fit in your pan.
- Prepare your Marinara sauce in large dutch-oven on the stove and bring to a simmer. Once the braciole is seared, add them to the Marinara sauce. Spoon sauce over the top if it is not submerged. If needed add another canned of crushed tomatoes to ensure the bracioles are mostly covered. You can also add browned meatballs and Italian sausage links at this point with the braciole for an amazing Sunday Meat Sauce.
- Cover and simmer for 2 - 3 hours. Check the sauce every ½ hour to ensure it is not burning on the bottom, and to turn the meat for even cooking. Add some wine or more crushed tomatoes if needed so the sauce does not get too thick, or if the sauce is too thin, leave the lid off and let simmer to reduce.
- Bring a large stockpot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
- When fork tender, carefully remove the braciole from the dutch oven and place on a wooden board to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Drop the pasta in the boiling water at this point to time the pasta for serving. It should take about 9-11 minutes to cook a la dente.
- With a serrated knife, carefully slice the cooled braciole and transfer the slices to a serving platter.
- Add the hot cooked pasta into the Dutch-oven with remaining sauce. Toss to coat and allow the pasta and sauce to combine for about 1 minutes. Carefully transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.
- Serve the sliced Braciole and pasta immediately, with more grated cheese on the side.