Despite the ease with which it seemed my pal Simon tied up a piece of pork many years ago, I’ve always steered clear of anything that requires tying, at least as far as the kitchen goes. It’s one of my peculiar and unfounded fears, like my trepidation of the pool drain or the Easter bunny. But when a recipe for a basic braciole showed up online, and the weekend turned snowy, I gave the classic Italian dish a try – and it turned out pretty well.
The trick here, at least according to many iterations, is a quick searing in oil then a long, slow cook in your best tomato sauce. Here’s the recipe I used:
1 1/2 lb flank steak (usually labeled braciole meat)
6 tbsp fresh parsley leaves (roughly chopped)
8 garlic cloves (minced)
4 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
4 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1. Lay out the braciole on wax or parchment paper. Pound with a meat mallet.
2. Season both sides generously with sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle with olive oil.
3. Spread garlic on top of the braciole evenly across the entire piece. Scatter grated cheese on top of garlic.
4. Add a thick coating of parsley.
5. Roll it up tightly and tie securely with baker’s twine.
6. Heat dutch oven on stove top to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Place bracioles in carefully and turn to brown on all sides. Add water if necessary to keep the meat moist.
7. When fully browned, cover with tomato sauce and reduce to medium-low heat and let cook slowly for 2- 2 1/2 hours. Serve bracoile and sauce over pasta.
The rolling and tying was the messiest part, but with practice I can see it becoming less unwieldy. I made a tomato sauce from scratch as well (hello kitchen ambition) and cooked it slowly for about three hours, at the end of which the meat was super tender. A variation that you may want to try is the addition of pine nuts in the braciole, for an extra Italian twist.
It seems that certain things do much better when they’re tied up. The kitchen likes it kinky.Back to Blog