STUFFED BEEF BRACIOLE
Italian Home Cooking
by Julia Della Croce
Zia Rita's Stuffed Beef Braciole
My aunt Rita Ghisu came from Cagliari. Her cooking is like her, elegant and refined—like these braciole stuffed with mortadella, pistachios, savory crumbs, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Use flank steak or thin slices of rump steak pounded 1/4 inch thick.
• 2½ pound Flank Steak, 3/4 inch thick, partially frozen
• 1/4 cup chopped, toasted shelled Pistachios
• 6 large cloves Garlic, chopped
• 2 medium Shallots, minced
• 5 tablespoons chopped fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
• 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano Cheese
• 12 thin slices imported Mortadella, or Prosciutto
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin Olive Oil
• 1 tablespoon unsalted Butter
• 2 28-ounce cans crushed Italian Plum Tomatoes
• 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
• 1 cup good-quality Dry Red Wine
• freshly ground Black Pepper
• cotton butcher's twine or strong toothpicks
1. Butterfly the steak and pound it to a 1/4-inch-thickness. Place the steak cut side up with the grain parallel to the edge of your counter edge. Cut into 12 pieces, each 3 x 4 inches. Distribute the pistachios, garlic, shallots, parsley, and grated cheese over each. Then roll a slice of Mortadella into a cigar shape and place it in the center of each piece of meat so that it lies in the same direction as the grain. Roll up each bundle of meat tightly and tie it securely with butcher's twine. Alternatively, use toothpicks to keep the rolls closed. The rolls should be neither overly tight nor overly loose.
2. In a Dutch oven that is large enough to accommodate all the Braciole at once without crowding, warm the olive oil and butter together. When it is hot enough to sear the meat, slip the Braciole into the pan. If the pan is not large enough, sear in two batches. Brown the Braciole on all sides over medium-high heat, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes and salt to the pan. Partially cover and simmer over the lowest heat so that barely a bubble breaks the surface, about 1 hour. Add the wine and continue to simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2½ hours.
3. Add pepper to taste and check for seasoning. Allow the Braciole to settle for 15 minutes before serving. Remove the string or toothpicks. Serve the sauce over freshly cooked polenta, rice, macaroni, or strand-type pasta. Serve the Braciole separately as a second course.