Bracioles are thinly sliced and pounded meat rolled up with a filling of some sort (it could be fresh herbs, a thin omelet, cooked spinach or other greens, sometimes even plumped raisins) and then simmered until the meat is cooked through and tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful. You can serve braciole by themselves or over pasta to soak up the sauce and meat juices.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 4 large, thin slices beef top round (about 1½ pounds total)
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (stems removed), chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 large sprigs fresh basil
- 1 pound dried long pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat. Beat the eggs together with 2 teaspoons water, then pour them into the pan and swirl it to coat the bottom. Cook just until the omelet is set on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Use a spatula to cut the omelet into eighths, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Place one of the beef slices between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Remove the top piece of plastic. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese, top with 1 tablespoon parsley, then 2 pieces of the omelet, then 1 more tablespoon cheese. Sprinkle lightly with pepper. Starting at a narrow end, roll up the beef and secure it closed with toothpicks. Repeat with the remaining beef slices.
Heat the remaining oil in the sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add the beef rolls. Cook for about 8 minutes, turning with tongs, until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer the beef rolls to a 4-quart slow cooker, then add the garlic to the sauté pan and cook until just softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and half a can of water, bring to a boil, then pour the sauce into the cooker over the beef rolls. Stir in half of the basil and half of the remaining parsley, along with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, then cook, covered, on the low setting for 5 hours, or until the beef rolls are tender, then remove the lid and cook on the high setting, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the remaining basil and parsley.
When ready to serve, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and serve, topped with the braciole and sauce (remove the toothpicks, or warn your guests about them). Pass extra grated cheese at the table.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.