Braciola (pronounced in our family as breh' zjole) is one of my favorite things to make and eat.
The stuffing ingredients can be varied as the list of foods which compliment the flavor of beef: Italian sausage (hot and sweet) with mushrooms - Mozzarella and mushroom (diced Portabella, Porcini and Oyster) - Popcorn shrimp and smoked ham - Mixed Italian cheeses and whole hard-boiled egg - Mixed Italian cheeses, diced tomatoes and pepperoni - shredded celery, carrots, mushroom and onion
The variety of tastes in the Braciola can be as simple or complex as the cook likes (like our brews).
This one is filled with mushrooms cheeses, onion and peppers. You can also use smaller pieces of thin sliced steak to make individual Braciola...
1. Take a large flank steak (as close to 2# as possible) and butterfly it (cut it through the thickness, across the grain so it lays flat like the leaves of a book).
2. Pound the steak with a coarse meat mallet to help tenderize and stretch it out.
3. Season the meat on both sides with a light sprinkling of salt, ground pepper (black, white, cayenne and sweet paprika), oregano, sweet basil and onion & garlic powders.
4. Roll up the meat in plastic wrap and let it "marinate" in the refrigerator while the stuffing is prepared.
5. Mix together: 1 c chopped white mushrooms (flavored with 2 T of rehydrated, chopped Porcinis), 3/4 c shredded, low moisture Mozzarella, 1/4 c each, freshly grated Asiago, Romano and Parmesan, 1 ea sm yellow and red onion - diced, 1/2 c ea green, yellow and red Bell peppers - diced. Don't worry if this seems too much, the excess is spread over the outside of the Braciola when it is placed in the baking dish.
6. Lay out the meat, place 2/3 of the stuffing alongside the center line of the steak. Fold this side of the meat over and roll the rest of the steak around this pocket. Tuck the ends in and secure the roll with cotton butcher's cord.
7. Preheat the oven to 350F.
8. In a hot pan, pour in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Sear the meat all around.
9. Place the browned meat roll into a lightly oiled baking pan. Spread the rest of the stuffing over it. Drizzle on a little olive oil and red wine. Bake covered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until done to taste (I like mine medium rare).
10. Slice into 1" (approx.) portions.
Serve over fresh-baked flat bread with steamed spinach and black olives (dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic).
If you like sauce, cover the whole with 1# each diced and crushed tomatoes (Roma or Plum), and then the rest of the fill-mix before baking, also sprinkle with some fresh, minced basil and oregano. Serve over macaroni or spaghetti.
If you want to skip the meat for some reason or other (
) use the stuffing mix (seasoned with the spices normally used on the meat) as the filling in a pair of double crust pies and use a little extra grated cheese as a topper. Bake at 325F for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. (Wrap the crust rim in aluminum foil to prevent overcooking.) The finished pie is wonderfully complimented by spinach and olives (as above), almonds and figs.
"Drink what you like." - Justin Wilson