I am truly enamored with Lucinda Scala Quinn. Have been from the first time I saw her on television. Her cooking style and mine are similar. Her recipes and ingredients are accessible and easy and wonderful for family and friends, for all sorts of occasions. Many of the recipes from Mad Hungry come from one of Lucinda’s first books, Lucinda’s Rustic Italian Kitchen. Wonderful book with some truly wonderful recipes inside – including this one for Beef Braciola.
It never occurred to me to make braciola. To me it was always something people put in sauce, something the butcher made, and not something I cared for very much. There was something about this recipe and photo that drew me to it – making braciola the star of the dish! How ingenious!
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 10 slices top-round sirloin, very thinly sliced, pounded to 4-6 inches
- 10 pieces string, 14 inches long
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine (optional) or water
- 1 28-ounce can best-quality tomatoes, coarsely blended
NOTE: I had the butcher cut this for me. I had 6 slices. I didn’t adjust the amount of stuffing any. I would prefer to have a little left over than not having enough!
You will of course only see 5 throughout this recipe as the Pup helped herself to a slice as I turned my back for a SPLIT second to put down the camera!
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the garlic in a small skillet over medium heat until it sizzles but does not brown, about 30 seconds. Stir in the breadcrumbs, remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Stir in the Parmesan, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper, the red pepper flakes, and thyme.
Lay the meat slices out side by side on a clean workspace. Sprinkle each slice with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Place a scant 1/4 cup filling over each meat slice, leaving a 1/4-inch border.
NOTE: I pounded the beef a bit to make it thinner and easier to roll. Also, I am so lousy at tying up meat (no comments from the peanut gallery) that I made it as simple as I could and just tied it in one spot. Really it was just to hold it together while searing it,. The Braciola Police were not going to give me a hard time for my ugly tying skills!
Drizzle on olive oil and roll each piece up from the widest to narrowest end. Tie each piece with the string.
Place the remaining 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Just before the oil smokes, add the meat bundles. (Do not crowd the pan or the meat won’t brown.) Working in batches if necessary, cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the braciola from the pan and keep warm in the oven.
Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the onion and the remaining teaspoon of garlic, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Pour in the wine or water, stirring to deglaze the pan, loosening all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Return the beef to the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Remove the bundles from the pan, one at a time, snip off the string, and return to the pan. The dish may be made a couple of days ahead to this point, and the taste will improve. Serve as desired.
NOTE: I made a little pasta for the side and topped it with the tomato sauce. And that thieving pup I mentioned earlier? Seems too much of a good thing IS bad for you! That is how she spent the rest of the night! Not sure if she was hanging her head in shame or suffering from being stuffed and eating raw beef!