This Venetian-inspired dinner is comfort food at its finest.
Growing up, my mom would make a roulade of steak, braised in a rich tomato gravy for special occasions. After a long day at school, I’d walk into the house and be greeted with the intoxicating aroma of the tomato sauce that my mom had been slow-simmering for hours. I’d take a cup and spoon some of my mom’s sauce directly into the cup and then I’d drink it like a fine wine, pinky up. This dish holds a lot of memories for me and I’m happy to introduce you to your new go-to Italian entré.
Let’s first start with how to pronounce “braciole” – brah-jawl-ay. Say that five times fast!
Now that we know how to say what we’re eating, on with the recipe.
I mix up the breadcrumbs and cheese for the filling and set it aside. Next, I take my beef and tenderize it, an important part of this whole process. With the breadcrumbs prepared and the meat tenderized, I’m ready to roll. I season the meat with salt and pepper before spreading two tablespoons of the cheesy breadcrumb mixture across the top. I roll up the meat and hold it together with a toothpick. Then, I sear the meat in the dutch oven on each side for about a minute or so, then take it out to prepare the sauce. This browning process will add an essential layer of flavor to the bottom of the pot.
Deglazing the pan with white wine helps pull up those bits of flavor before I add the crushed tomatoes, basil stem (yes, the stem AND the leaves!), and Calabrian chili. The chili is optional as it adds a bit of heat. If your looking for some heat but not full heat, I suggest adding ¼ of the amount or using some red pepper flakes as an alternative. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then gently nestle the braciole rolls into the sauce, and don’t forget to pour any of those juices from the plate back into the sauce! Cover the pot, leaving it slightly cracked for the steam to vent, and bake in the oven for one hour.
After an hour, you’ll hardly be able to resist and that’s when you know it’s done. I take this out of the oven and use a knife to check the tenderness of the meat – it should meet no resistance when you cut. I’ll use my tongs to remove the toothpicks before plating and the sauce will go into a gravy boat so that I can pour it over top the absolutely fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth braciole. When I think of comfort food, I think of this rolled beef braciole in a slow-roasted tomato sauce; it fills my heart with food-love and my belly with good food.
Rolled Beef Braciole in a Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce was featured in the Table for 12 Venetian Dinner menu. It was served with Caramelized Radicchio Risotto, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta in a Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette, and a Blood Orange Campari Cake.
Rolled Beef Braciole in a Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 lbs. flank steak, sliced thin & pounded flat
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup dry red or white wine
- 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed
- 1 fresh basil stem with leaves, plus fresh leaves for garnish
- Calabrian chili paste, for optional heat, to taste
- Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the filling, combine breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and olive oil.
- Season stuffed side of the beef with salt and pepper, then spread 2 tablespoons of filling on each filet.
- Roll up the filled steak nice a thigh from all ends. Secure the roulade with one toothpick right in the middle. (Note: The more toothpicks you use, the more you have to remove when cooked.) Season the the outside of the steak with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a large dutch oven on medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for roughly 2 minutes.
- Once the oil is hot, sear the braciole on each side for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to low and add in the garlic cloves. Let them cook for 30 seconds or until they’re brown. Deglaze with wine and reduce until half.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, basil stem, and optional chili sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Nestle the braciole into the tomato sauce, cover loosely and let cook in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the hot pot from the oven and insert a knife into the braciole, it should insert into the meat easily. Discard the basil leaf stem.
- Plate the braciole on a platter with a gravy boat of sauce. Garnish with parmesan and fresh basil leaves.
This recipe is featured in the Table for 12 Venetian Dinner menu.