by Mike Bradley
Braciole is dish that may seem intimidating or sound complicated, but really isn’t. It’s nothing more than a thin cut of steak stuffed with deliciousness, rolled and then baked. But what makes a braciole taste good? How do you make that perfect stuffing? What kind of meat do you purchase? I’ll do my best to make sure this dish is easy for you the next time you’re craving it.
You need a nice flat, rollable steak. Many grocery stores will have braciole steaks packaged and ready to go. If your store doesn’t, this process becomes more arduous but still not too bad. You’ll need a flank steak or similarly very lean, but large cut of steak. You’ll have to pound it down with a cooking mallet to an even 1/2″ thickness. If you can get it to go thinner, even better.
The key to making a truly delicious Braciole is the stuffing. As it’s an Italian dish, you should use a variety of cheese, seasoning and breadcrumbs. I added extra pizzazz to this recipe by including pesto, as well. The other necessity in achieving the best possible taste is a good quality tomato sauce. The sauce needs to marry the steak and stuffing together perfectly as you eat it. In this case, I made my own sauce, but you could use store-bought if you wish.
Rolling can be tricky. Take it slow. Grasp the longer edge of the steak and tuck and roll, so the short edge is the rolled portion when you’re finished. If you roll up the longer edge, the roll will be too thick and will not cook through as evenly. Sear the edges and then throw into a casserole dish to bake the rest of the way – easy!
- 16 oz. braciole steak (or flank / other flat steak)
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 4 tbsp basil pesto
- 1 large egg
- Tomato sauce of choice
- Special tools: toothpicks
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a large casserole dish with a layer of tomato sauce.
- In a mixing bowl, combine Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, basil pesto and egg. Set aside.
- Lay your steak out on a large, clean surface. If your steak is not flat enough, use a mallet to pound it to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.
- Spread the stuffing over the entire top surface of the steak, pressing it down firmly into the meat.
- Roll the braciole, folding in the edges of the long side of the steak (that’s if you’ve pounded it into a rectangle; if it’s a circle… start wherever you like). Roll the steak slowly while firmly pressing down. The result should push a little excess stuffing out but don’t worry about that. Insert toothpicks to hold the braciole in place.
- Sear all sides of the rolled braciole in a pan with some olive oil. Once it’s nice and brown all around it’s time to bake.
- Lay the braciole in the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes, adding some time if your steak was over 1 pound before stuffing.
- Once fully cooked allow it to sit for about 5 minutes at room temperature before slicing. Plate it with some sauce and a bit of sprinkled parmesan and enjoy!
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