Braciole with Tomato and Meat Sauce

Braciole with Tomato and Meat Sauce

Americans have become accustomed to eating a protein along with pasta on the same plate at the same time; however some traditional Italian recipes like this one, are actually two delicious dishes in one; the meat and the sauce.

The filled round steak, or ‘Braciole’ in Italian, flavors the sauce while it cooks with an added deep hearty meat flavor and is then removed and never served directly with the pasta.  Instead, it is sliced and served along with the sauce as a course within the meal, or not until the next day.

It’s difficult to decide which of the two stars of this dish taste better – the meat or the sauce. I may have to make it again in order to decide (I know, darn it!).

Try it and let me know what you decide.  I would love to know which one you chose!

For the Braciole:
1 pound round steak, ½ inch thick
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper

For the Meat Sauce:
2 – 14 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 red onions, finely chopped
1 cup pancetta, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup olive oil
Parmesan cheese rind
Salt and Pepper

For the Braciole:
1) Lay the round steak on a flat surface and season lightly with salt and pepper.

2) Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, butter and garlic in a small bowl and spread the mixture over the round steak.

3) Roll up the steak and tie kitchen string across the roll, three inches apart. Set the roll aside.

For the Meat Sauce:
1) Heat the butter and olive oil in a deep pot over moderately high heat and place the Braciole in the pan. Brown the meat on all sides, turning every 2-3 minutes until browned on all sides.

2) Add the vinegar and cook for one minute, de-glazing the bottom of the pot.

3) Stir in the onions, pancetta, garlic and parsley and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

4) Add the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to simmer, add the Parmesan rind and cover the pot. Let the sauce to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

5) Transfer the Braciole to a serving plate and slice it into 1 inch slices.

6) Taste the sauce, adjusting the seasoning where needed and discard the Parmesan rind.

7) Serve the Braciole traditionally, on a plate, topped with a small amount of the sauce.
Optional serving: Serve along with pasta in deep bowls, topped with grated Parmesan and slices of the Braciole on the side.

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