Braciole – Sicilian Style. Our favorite family’s dish of all time is Braciole. It is made with thinly sliced top round sirloin steak, stuffed with cured meat, bread crumbs, cheese and green onion, then rolled up and finished in a slow cooked tomato sauce until the meat is perfectly tender.
Braciole is an Italian meat dish our grandmothers and mothers made mainly for family Sunday dinners, holidays and special occasions. Braciole meats are simmered in a very simple tomato sauce and gives the sauce it’s rich flavors! The tomato sauce slowly cooks with the submerged braciole, creating an amazing flavorful sauce – it becomes addicting. And it works perfectly with any pasta you serve it with.
It’s one of those dishes that looks like a lot of work, but actually, it involves a little patience and time. Having said that, keep in mind, this is not one of our quick meals, but one that is very impressive and so delicious! Braciole will definitely becomes everyone’s new favorite Italian meal.
There are different versions of making braciole. My Sicilian husband prefers his mothers recipe over our mom’s and quite frankly, braciole is so good, our family loves any version we make.
But his mom’s version is a simple one.
First, make the sauce ( see recipe below). You can make this dish using a heavy-bottomed pot or a slow cooker would work just as well. Next, on a sheet of wax paper, lay flat the slices of steak. Scatter on top with bread crumbs and grated cheese, then top with prosciutto, a chunk of cheese, onions and parsley.
Once you roll up the meats, tie them with thick string or butcher’s twine to secure. Then saute them on stove top for a few minutes and transfer each one to the tomato sauce that is simmering next to it.
The sauce should slowly cook to thicken while it tenderizes the braciole meats. This recipe makes a big batch of sauce and can easily feed 8 people. You can make more bracioles to feed a larger gathering.
Serve your favorite pasta with this dish and sprinkle on top with some freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and call it a day! We love to serve it with orecchiette pasta because it’s small and it scoops up the sauce with every spoonful.
So good, you’ll savor every spoonful along with every bite of the braciole, for sure!
- 6 thinly sliced top sirloin steak (about ¼-inch thick) (2 packages of 3)
- 6 Tbsp. plain bread crumbs
- 4 to 6 Tbsp. grated pecorino cheese
- 4 ounces sliced prosciutto
- 3 ounce wedge of auricchio provolone cheese- cut into ½-inch chunks
- 3 green onions, cleaned and cut to fit the width of meat
- fresh parsley
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 plus ½ vidalia onion - finely minced
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 4 large basil leaves
- 4 to 5 cans (28-ounces) Italian peeled tomatoes, blended in a blender
- ½ Tbsp. salt
- On a clean surface working with 1 package of sliced steak at a time, lay out the slices flat on wax paper.
- Scatter bread crumbs over the steaks then again with grated pecorino cheese. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the cheese.
- Lay a slice or two of prosciutto on top, then in the center (or at the end of one side) add a chunk of provolone cheese, green onions and a sprig of fresh parsley on top (which I forgot to add).
- Grab one end of the meat and roll tightly, then tie with a strong string, or butcher's twine to secure. You can also use strong toothpicks to secure the meat. Finally sprinkle braciole with salt and pepper. Set them aside in a dish. Repeat with the other package of sliced steak.
- Place a large skillet on stove top and add a drizzle of olive oil. Heat the oil for a few seconds, add the braciole and sear the meats for a few minutes, rotating to brown evenly on all sides. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be fully cooked, the sauce will finish cooking the braciole.
- Transfer each one to the tomato sauce (recipe below) which should already be simmering and submerge each one into the sauce. Simmer the braciole for 1 hour, uncovered. Then cover with a lid, turn off heat and allow it to sit and cool down slightly.
- Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a sharp knife and carefully remove the string and discard. Slice the braciole into thirds, and transfer to a serving platter. Ladle with extra sauce on top and serve.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add the olive oil, onions, red pepper flakes and basil, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Then add in only one can of tomatoes (blended) to the onions to prevent the onions from burning while cooking. (This is a trick my husband learned from his mom). Occasionally stirring. Continue to simmer the onions on low heat for another 15 minutes.
- Then add in the rest of the tomatoes and salt. Cover and raise the heat to bring to the sauce a boil. Lower the heat again, and continue to simmer the sauce on low heat.
- Add the braciole to the sauce. Simmer for an additional hour, occasionally stirring the sauce. The total cooking time should be about 1 and ½ hours. Taste the sauce. Turn off the heat. Allow the sauce to cool down slightly.
- Yields: 3 quarts
For this dish, you will need a lot of tomato sauce since the braciole will soak up some of it. Also, the longer you simmer the sauce ( and you can simmer the sauce with braciole up to 2 hours, the better and more tender the meat will be. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water to it.
Keep in mind, if any leftovers, the sauce keeps in the fridge up to 3 days, and freezes well.
KITCHEN TIP: To finely chop the large vidalia onion for the tomato sauce-I used an electric mini-chopper and it worked like a charm!
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