Most versions start the same way; a piece of round steak is pounded until thin with a meat tenderizer mallet. The fillings can include Italian cheeses, seasoned breadcrumbs, cured Italian meats, pesto, pine nuts and sometime raisins. The meat is rolled up, jellyroll style, secured with kitchen twine or toothpicks, browned and slowly braised in marinara sauce until tender.
This is our family’s standard braciole. After pounding the round steak out until thin, prosciutto, Genoa salami, fresh breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese are drizzled with olive oil before rolling up and braising. The cured meats can be omitted completely and bulk raw Italian sausage can be spread on the pounded steak before rolling. The cheeses can vary as well; provolone and Romano cheese are very common. The dish is very versatile; don’t be afraid to try different combinations.
Instead of preparing the dish as one large roll, this can also be done in individual size rolls called “Involtini”. The leftover braciole makes an interesting cold sandwich on Italian bread the next day.
1 pound round steak (choose a solid piece without loose segments)
4 slices prosciutto
6 slices Genoa salami
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
¼ cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
5-6 cups prepared marinara sauce
½ cup red wine
Pound the beef between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat tenderizer mallet until about ¼ to ½ inch thick being careful to prevent holes or tears in the meat. Any holes that do happen can be patched with a piece of prosciutto or salami during the next step.
Place the prosciutto and salami in a single layer over the beef. If there are any holes or thin places in the beef, make sure to place the meat over those areas.
Spread the breadcrumbs over the salami in an even layer leaving an inch on all sides to make rolling the meat easier. Sprinkle the cheese over the breadcrumbs and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over all.
Carefully fold the edges over and begin to roll the beef. Tie the roll in several places with kitchen twine and gently rub the outside of the roll with the remaining oil.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. With the aid of tongs, sear the roll all over, including the ends, until nicely browned all over.
While the meat is browning, heat the marinara sauce, garlic and wine in a Dutch oven or pan large enough to hold the size of the roll. Place the browned braciole in the sauce and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and braise, over low heat until tender. The braciole in the photograph took 3 hours until a fork inserted into the meat slid in easily.
When tender, carefully remove the beef roll from the sauce and set on a platter. Let the roll cool for about 5-10 minutes and remove the string. Slice the braciole and serve with pasta or gnocchi with the sauce over the top and plenty of parmesan cheese.