Perhaps I should re-name this "Braciole di Manzo il Frigo" because I wrapped the beef around what I could scrounge up from the fridge.
But don't worry, I'm posting the real recipe here, thank you Lidia Bastianich.
I've been avoiding gluten but I had to have my pasta fix so I served the beef roll over fettuccine. That should keep me happy for a while.
I started the filling by cutting up and soaking two pieces of pita bread in just enough milk to cover them and added milk as needed to hydrate them. While the bread was soaking, two ribs of celery and 1/4 of a white onion were diced and sautéed with a minced clove of garlic and set aside to cool before adding to the soaked bread.
I had some salami slices leftover from a party so that got diced and added to the bread-veggie mix along with some chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.
After I laid out the slices of beef I mounded some filling up on the wide end of the meat, then added a half a slice of string cheese, rolled up and secured with toothpicks.
In a large skillet heat some oil and brown the rolls. Once the rolls are browned add the sauce. I took a short cut and used jarred spaghetti sauce that I jazzed up a little with some red wine and red pepper flakes.
Spoon the sauce over the rolls, turn down the heat cover and simmer until the meat is fork-tender.
Can it be more obvious I'm not a recipe writer? Basically, just about anything you have on hand can be used, use your imagination and leftovers.
It still was a plate of awesomeness. Next time I'd like to use some pepperoni, I think that would be great.
Here's the real deal recipe.
Braciole di Manzo
- FOR THE BRACIOLE
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes, cut from day-old Italian bread with crusts removed
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds beef bottom round, cut into 12 slices each about ½ inch thick
12 slices imported Italian prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
1/4 pound imported provola or provolone cheese, cut into ¼-by-¼-by-1-inch sticks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- FOR THE SAUCE
One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions (about 8 ounces), chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
Salt and hot red pepper flakes to taste
To make the stuffing:
Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the bread cubes, and let soak until the bread is very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the bread, squeeze out excess milk from the cubes with your hands, and return bread to the bowl. Stir in the chopped eggs, parsley, Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, raisins, pine nuts, and garlic. Mix well, and set aside.
With the toothed side of a heavy meat mallet, pound each slice of beef round to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Arrange one of the pounded meat slices in front of you with one of the short sides closest to you. Top with a slice of prosciutto, and tap the prosciutto with the backside of a knife so it adheres to the beef. Spread 2 tablespoons of the stuffing over the beef slice, 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 over the provolone, then fold the side borders in to overlap the edges of the stuffing. Roll into a compact tube. Secure the end flap with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining beef and stuffing, then season the rolls with salt and pepper.
Empty the tomatoes into a bowl, and squeeze them with your hands until coarsely crushed, removing the cores as you do. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy casserole over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add as many of the braciole as will fit in a single layer, and cook, turning the braciole as necessary, until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes. If necessary, repeat with any remaining braciole. Adjust the heat under the pan as necessary to prevent the beef from scorching. Pour the wine into the casserole, bring to a boil, and cook until most of it has evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and bay leaves, and stir until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt and red pepper flakes, adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering, and cook, adding water as necessary to keep the braciole completely submerged, until the beef is tender, about 3 hours.
And that's that!