Braciole is thin slices of meat that are filled with deliciousness. They’re then tightly rolled up and tied with a string (or toothpicks).
Growing up we didn’t eat this too often, as La Mama strayed away from traditional meat sauces at the risk of turning her daughters into little oinkers. I do love this though; I used to eat it often when I lived in Italy.
Braciole is fun to make and I love when it stews in a sauce for hours and falls apart with the touch of fork. Yum.
The sauce is a thick hearty sauce and works great with chunky macaroni shape. I used calamarata which I picked up at Eataly. These chubby tubes are perfect for this dish. And, if you can’t find calamarata (it’s hard to find in non-Italian stores/areas), don’t worry. Make this with rigatoni or ziti and it’ll be just as great.
FOR THE SAUCE:
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves of garlic, diced
1 small vidalia onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 28oz. cans of Redpack crushed tomatoes in thick puree
basil, about 20 leaves, washed
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 pinches of kosher salt
5 grinds of fresh black pepper
1 lb. of calamarata macaroni
FOR THE BRACIOLE:
1 package of braciole, I had ¾ lb. beef top round (you can also use flank steak sliced thin)
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup of pignolis
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic, diced small
2 pinches of kosher salt
few grinds of fresh black pepper
4 pieces of kitchen twine, each piece should be about the sized from your wrist to your elbow
Preparing The Braciole:
Take your pignoli nuts and smash them up a bit. (I used a potato masher and I think about people I can’t stand when I smash them. :)) They don’t have to be superfine just a few smashes will do, set aside.
Lay the meat down on a clean surface. Brush both pieces braciole with your 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the top-side of the meat. Sprinkle each braciole with salt and pepper. Sprinkle generously with pignolis and parsley.
Now it’s time roll them up.
Taking the top edge furthest away from you, roll the braciole down towards your stomach – just like a jelly roll.
Keep your finger on the roll so it doesn’t open up, carefully slide a piece of kitchen twine underneath the roll and tie it in a bow. Repeat the same about 2’’ apart.
Each braciole should have two pieces of string holding it together (just in case it breaks open you will still have your braciole in tact), set meat aside.
In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium heat. Once oil is hot add your onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Now, add your diced carrots and celery and stir. Let sauté for 5 minutes.
Now, gently add your braciole rolls into the dutch oven. Make your you push the onions/garlic/carrots/celery out of the way so there’s room for the braciole to touch the bottom of the pan.
You want to just sear the meat.
Using tongs, sear braciole on each side for 45 seconds. When all sides are seared and start to have a golden crust, remove and transfer the meat to a plate.
Stir up the onions/garlic/carrots/celery, they all will have that delicious meat flavor on them.
Now add the canned tomatoes, basil, sugar, salt and pepper and stir.
Add your seared braciole back into the pan (nestle it into the bottom again) and pour any drippings on the plate into the dutch oven as well.
Cover and cook on a simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.
In the last 20 minutes that the sauce is cooking, you’ll need to get your water boiling for the macaroni.
Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. (Throw a pinch of salt in the water to flavor the macaroni!) Once boiled, add the lb. of macaroni.
Cook uncovered for about 8-10 minutes until pasta is al dente.
When the macaroni is done, give your sauce a taste – it should be done too.
Put your drained macaroni back into the pot you cooked it in.
Remove the braciole from the dutch oven and transfer to a plate. Add about 1/2 cup of the sauce and pour over the braciole.
Take the remainder of your sauce and pour into the stockpot with cooked macaroni.
Plate, top with grated parmesan and enjoy!