This is one of those quintessential Italian comfort foods from our immigrant ancestors. Flank steak stuffed with whatever is at hand, stewed in a marinara sauce until it is fork tender, and served with pasta or gnocchi. This specialty dish goes well with a simple salad of fresh figs and fennel bulb, lots of crusty bread and red wine.
This one is stuffed with parsley, bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic, onion, chopped fresh cherries, calamata olives and capers. Instead of tying it with butcher twine, I’ve secured the roll with bamboo skewers.
Braciole (pronounced bra-zhul in Sicilian) is an American Italian dish similar to the voltino of classic Italian cuisine. The braciole can be made with thin slices of flank steak, pork, chicken, veal or even fish such as swordfish or mullet. It is typically a side dish for dinner, or sandwich filling for lunch. The braciole is usually stewed with meat balls and sausages and the sauce is tossed with the pasta or served as a gravy over potatoes. The traditional voltino is made with anchovies and hard boiled eggs, cheese, prosciutto, fresh herbs, garlic and onion. The addition of prunes, currants, figs, lemon juice or other fruit to the braciole adds another layer of sweet and tart flavor to balance the savory ingredients.
Impress guests at your next dinner party with this succulent Italian dish. Use a combination of ingredients that you savor and cook it in a crock pot with a simple tomato sauce.
- 2 lb flank steak
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 scallions, sliced finely
- 1 Tbsp capers (chop if large)
- 5 or 6 calamata olives, pitted and chopped finely
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 5 or 6 fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp olive oil for browning steak rolls
- 1/4 red wine
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Trim steak of fat. If the steak is very thick, butterfly it using a sharp knife. Cut into two pieces that are relatively rectangular in shape. Place each piece of steak between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thick. Patch thin areas with irregular pieces cut from the edges. Salt and pepper each piece.
- In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, 2 minced garlic cloves, scallions, capers, olives, Parmesan, cherries, thyme, parsley and egg.
- Spread 1/2 the filling over 2/3 of each steak piece starting at the short side. Pat the filling down so its smooth. Starting at the end with the filling (short side), roll steak tightly, tucking in sides. Secure the flap end of each roll with a bamboo skewer threaded the length of the flap.
- Saute rolls in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat until browned on all sides. Transfer rolls to the crock pot.
- To make the marinara: deglaze pan with wine, add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a lively simmer for a few minutes.
- Pour marinara over braciole in crock pot. Set temperature to low and cook for 6 hours, or 3 hours on high setting.
- Remove from crock pot and let rest for 20 minutes. Remove skewers. Slice braciole and serve with pasta or potato gnocchi. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the steak and toss pasta with the remaining sauce. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan.