My dad grew up eating braciole. It was one of the meats that made up my grandmother’s famous Sunday Pasta. My grandparents made braciole by first slicing the meat from the steak, topping each slice with herbs and cheese, carefully rolling each slice so the herb and cheese filling stays intact, binding it with kitchen string, and then dropping each braciole into the sauce to simmer along with the meatballs, sausage, and pepperoni. Pasquale, my grandfather, occasionally butterflied thick pork chops and prepared them just as they did the steak slices.
We get thin slices of steak from the butcher, about ¼ or ⅛-inch thick). We don’t pound our braciole with a meat mallet; the simmering pasta sauce is a meat tenderizer. We usually drop our braciole into the Sunday sauce to cook along with the other meats.
Braciole can be cooked as a main dish without other meats by browning them first in olive oil, and then simmering them with sauce until tender.
- 10 slices thinly sliced steak top round, about ¼ inch
- Oregano flakes
- Garlic powder or 3 cloves finely minced garlic
- 10 tablespoons chopped fresh celery leaves
- 20 fresh basil leaves 2 per braciole, chopped
- 10 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 5 tablespoons grated parmesan or romano cheese
- 3 or 4 cups of Sunday Sauce
- Kitchen string or toothpicks
Lay each slice of steak flat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano flakes, and garlic powder or minced garlic. Add 1 tablespoon chopped celery, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, and 1 tablespoon chopped basil (or 2 leaves) per steak, then top with a half tablespoon cheese each.
To cook braciole in Sunday sauce: Roll up each braciole and fasten with a toothpick, or tie kitchen string near each end. Add braciole to hot pasta sauce, and simmer for 2 hours.
To cook braciole alone: Heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add braciole, and turn occasionally, browning each side evenly. Once browned, add 3 or 4 cups sauce, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until meat is tender.