29 May 2009
From Denny: Italian comfort food reigns supreme in Louisiana too! This is an old dish still popular today. It takes a while to make, can be done in stages, and is usually reserved for special gatherings or holidays. Long on presentation!
"Like most heritage recipes, each family adds its own special touches, which came from previous generations.
Most of the bracioline dishes in our area are stuffed with a combination of ham, prosciutto (ham of Parma), bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salami or sausages. Some wrap the meat around whole hard-cooked eggs. Grace Guarisco slices the eggs, and her in-laws never use eggs. They wrap the meat around diced potatoes.
The recipe I’m preparing in the photo is from the late Mona Drago. She taught me to make her version of Braciolini and Tomato Gravy years ago for a Food Focus show. Her steak is stuffed with prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, cheese, bread crumbs and whole hard-cooked eggs.
The meat is thin-cut beef, top or bottom round, steaks. Ask the butcher to cut the steaks between ø and ‰ inch thick. You will find that some recipes call for veal, but most suggest round steak.
This is not a complicated recipe; it just takes time to cook the gravy and the meat. As long as you can wrap the meat around the stuffing and secure it with cotton string, you have it made. The Tomato Gravy is cooked slowly for 3 to 4 hours before it is poured over the meat. Then it cooks with the Bracioline for 2 to 2-1/2 more hours. Yes, it takes time, but it’s worth the effort."
By food writer Corinne Cook
Mona’s Braciolini (Stuffed Steaks With Three Meats and Cheese)
From: Mona Drago
Serves 12-14. Recipe can be halved.
3 round steaks sliced thin (get the butcher to cut them less than &permil-inch thick)
1/2 lb. prosciutto (Italian ham), thinly sliced (substitute regular ham if you cannot find the prosciutto)
1/2 lb. salami, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. pepperoni, thinly sliced
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Italian bread crumbs
5 or 6 hard-cooked eggs
4 strips bacon
Tomato Gravy (recipe follows)
1. Overlap the round steaks a little on each other, then pound the meat well with the flat side of a meat mallet.
2. Layer the ham, then the salami, pepperoni, cheese and bread crumbs.
3. Line the boiled eggs on one end and holding the meat and filling together as you start, roll up jellyroll style.
4. Tie securely with cotton string.
5. Place bacon over the top of the meat. Pour Tomato Gravy over the meat and cook at 350 degrees for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of the steak.
1 large onion
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 ribs celery, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 (12-oz.) can tomato paste
3 tbls. sugar
1 (28-oz.) can tomato purée or 2 (16-oz.) cans whole tomatoes, cut up
Salt, black pepper and red pepper, to taste
Oregano, to taste
Sweet basil, to taste
2 or 3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1. Cook onions, garlic and celery in olive oil until vegetables are tender. Add tomato paste and sugar. Fry this until it begins to hold together and is a nice rich color, about 15-25 minutes.
2. Fill the tomato paste can with water and add 2 cans of water to the tomato mixture. Cook for about 15 minutes then add tomato purée and seasoning. Add 2-30 quarts of water and cook slowly, covered, for at least three hours or until slightly thickened. If mixture gets too thick, thin with a little more water.
3. Pour over prepared meat and bake in 350-degree oven for 2 to 3 hours, depending on size of steaks.
4. To serve, remove string, cut meat into slices and serve over cooked pasta with added gravy over the top.
Another version of Italian Stuffed Steak:
From: Grace Siracusa Guarisco
Note: This is enough steak and filling for 1 bracioline. Double or triple these ingredients if serving more and wrap each separately.
1 to 1-1/4 lbs. thin-cut top or bottom round steak (slightly less than &permil-inch thick)
Salt, black pepper and red pepper
2 to 4 slices thin-sliced ham
4 pieces sliced bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
2 sliced hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbls. chopped fresh basil or parsley
Olive oil for browning
Italian Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
1. Season meat, which has been pounded into rectangle about 1/4-inch thick, to taste with salt, black pepper and red pepper. On top of steak, layer ham, then crumbled bacon, sliced hard-cooked eggs. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and seasoned bread crumbs. Those amounts need not be exact. Sprinkle with either chopped fresh parsley or fresh basil.
2. Roll up tightly, jellyroll style, and tie securely with cotton string to secure stuffing. Brown meat, on all sides, in large heavy pot in about 1/3 cup olive oil.
3. Pour cooked Italian Tomato Sauce over stuffed steak and cook for about 2 hours. Do not overcook or steak will fall apart instead of slicing nicely.
Italian Tomato Sauce
This is enough sauce for three (1- to 1-1/4-lb.) braciolini.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (12-oz.) can and 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
6-3/4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 to 3 tbls. sugar
4 to 5 leaves of fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. pasta
1. In heavy pot, sauté onion in olive oil until almost tender. Add the garlic after the onions have cooked awhile. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
2. Cook tomato mixture, while stirring constantly, until it’s a deep red, about 15 minutes.
3. Add water, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, dried basil, oregano, cinnamon and sugar. Cook slowly, covered, for 3 to 5 hours.
4. Right before serving add the fresh basil.
5. Pour over prepared Bracioline and cook an additional 2 hours.
6. To serve, remove string, slice and serve over cooked pasta with extra sauce over the top.