Thursday, January 3, 2008


Welcome 2008!!

As my first post of the New Year, I'm posting quite possibly the only dish that I had be dying to make in 2007...which not-so-coincidentally didn't happen until almost the "11th hour." I know that I'm a procrastinator and the fact that I waited until the second to last day of the year to break down and make this braciole is just a testament to my ability to be resolute in my procrastination convictions.

What the hell does that mean, right? Well let me 'splain. Of all the things I've learned about myself in the past 10 years, throughout the second half of my college career, my Master's program, and my working life, I think one of the most important things I've learned is that I work well under pressure. I pulled many o' all-nighters back in the day and it wasn't necessarily because I kept putting assignments off; more like working 3 part-time jobs, taking 18 credits, and handling a relationship with a Navy sailor kinda put a crimp in my study habits. So oftentimes the only time I had to study and write papers was in the wee hours of the morning when my brain was so fried and there wasn't enough coffee in the dorm to keep my eyes open. But somehow I pumped out some of the best papers of my college career watching [and sometimes sweating as] the minutes tick by on that little clock on the bottom right-hand of the screen. A after A after A were the grades that appeared on those papers, exams, projects, and oral presentations. I know, I couldn't believe it either! So now that you know where my affinity (for lack of a better word) for procrastination comes from. But I digress...

So back the braciole (which by the way, the word is commonly pronounced /bra'zhul/ from the Sicilian pronunciation)...I'd never made it before and don't really remember my parents making the rolled-up version mentioned in the Wikipedia (although there was almost always a piece (read: a hunk) of beef or pork in the sauce they made) but I'd heard about it from various sources and then it showed up in Giada's Everyday Italian cookbook. I tell you, I looked at that recipe on and off for 8 months, and only after finding a great flank steak at Whole Foods did I decide it was time. And like magic, with the flank steak waiting in the fridge, Giada popped up on the FN with the braciole episode...fate, I tell ya.

We both really enjoyed how this turned out...and it was well worth the 8 month wait. The meat was tender, the filling was flavorful, and overall the braciole was very simple to put together. In the future, I'd be tempted to try out other additions to the filling - maybe roasted red peppers, garlic, or sundried tomatoes. Similar to a crockpot meal, this cooked for a while in the oven, which was nice because it gave me time to run around the house and get a few things done before dinner was ready. I'll definitely make this again but will find a different side dish other than the one I served with the braciole this time (see broccoli rabe post).

source: Giada de Laurentiis
  • 1/2 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/3 cup grated provolone
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/4 cups Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce (I used my own homemade sauce. You can find Giada's sauce recipe in the link above.)
  1. Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Serves: 4

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