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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Per mio marito.

My sister's father-in-law owns an awesome restaurant that represents exactly what Italian food is.  No frills, rustic, AMAZING tasting food.  I could seriously eat there every day, and so could Frank...the difference is, Frank would order the same thing every day.  Braciole.

When I was deciding on what to cook for Valentine's Day, I thought, why go fancy...why not just make what my husband LOVES.  Isn't that what the holiday is all about, anyway?  Loooove, love, love...

A tattoo would probably be even better.

Braciole may look intimidating, but it's not.  Just make sure your meat (which can also be pork, by the way) is thinly cut and pounded down, and that you have some butcher's twine or toothpicks.  I used toothpicks but I don't recommend them for a braciole "virgin"...twine will keep your meat intact and your filling inside.

As Frank said, "put the knives back".  The meat gets SUPER tender after cooking in the sauce for hours...so much so that a knife isn't necessary.  Good stuff.

Raisins are a common ingredient but my pickier than a child husband isn't a fan, so I omitted them.  I LOVE them in braciole...I think they add a nice, sweet undertone...so please, include them in yours!

Again, quality ingredients are of utmost importance when it comes to Italian cooking.  Don't skimp out on anything!  It's all about simplicity and quality for the best tasting food.

The instructions are easy - just follow along and I guarantee your husband will fall in love all over again :)

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
3 tablespoons whole milk (you can also use a mix of heavy cream and lowfat milk)
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons pignoli nuts, toasted
1/4 cup pecorino romano, grated
2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
3 large slices (about 1 lb.) beef bottom round, already cut into braciole slices by butcher, or cut and pounded thin
Prosciutto, thinly sliced
Imported provolone
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cans crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
tomato paste
small amounts of basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

Place bread crumbs in a bowl and add milk a little at a time.  Make it so the bread becomes damp but not too wet.  Stir in the eggs, parsley, cheese, pignoli nuts and garlic. Mix well and set aside. 

***If your meat isn't already pounded thin*** With a meat mallet, pound each slice of beef round to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. 

Arrange one of the pounded meat slices in front of you and top with prosciutto.  Spread some of the stuffing over the prosciutto, leaving a 1 inch border around the edges. Place a stick of provolone crosswise over the edge of the stuffing closest to you. Fold the border closest to you over the provolone, then fold the side borders in to overlap the edges of the stuffing. Roll into a compact roll. 

Secure the end flap with twine or toothpicks. Finish all the rolls, then season with salt and pepper.

Put oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat with chopped garlic and add rolls.  Turn after first side is seared.  After second side is seared, turn again, then add tomatoes, seasonings, and tomato paste.  Stir together carefully (work your spoon around the meat), turn heat down to low, and cover.  Cook for at least 2 hours (the longer, the better), stirring occasionally.  Serve with pasta.

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At February 12, 2011 at 11:08 PM , Blogger Ann said...

Oh Melissa, This bracciole looks fantastic. I've always loved bracciole but I've never made it. Great job. The new blog look is nice too.

At February 13, 2011 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Joanne said...

My dad is a BIG braciole lover as well and I know he would love this! thanks for the recipe.

At February 13, 2011 at 10:37 AM , Blogger Katerina said...

I love Italian food. These braciole are the epitome of a straight forward hearty and comforting Italian dish.

At February 13, 2011 at 2:25 PM , Blogger Victor said...

I love Italian cooking. I have to admit that it is the first time that I heard of bracciole, sounds delicious.

At February 13, 2011 at 4:19 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Wow your recipe is very similair to mine. but I put the raisins in but not the prosciutto or provolone. My H will not eat it and forbids me to put it in His pot of sauce becasue even thouhg they are tied they fall apart and he hates all the "stuff" in His sauce. I have to have him make a seperate little pot so I can make them It's just such a hassle to make them for just myself.

At February 13, 2011 at 5:16 PM , Blogger Victoria said...

Your braciole looks fantastic!! Super tender!! Thanks for the recipe :)

At February 13, 2011 at 6:48 PM , Blogger Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I had braciole for the first time a couple of weeks ago at a party and it was awesome! Great recipe, I will def put this on my list of things-to-cook :)

At February 13, 2011 at 8:51 PM , Blogger kecarr said...

My ex mother-in-law made braciole all the time & I LOVED it..however, I never got the recipe, and my new MIL, who is Italian, never makes anything good. Needless to say, I am thrilled to see this here and to see how easy it seems. Thanks for all these great recipes and ideas. I talk about your blog all the time! ps..I agree w/ your husband..NO raisins!!!haha. Thanks again for sharing with all of us! Karen


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