1 1/2 lbs of eye round trimmed
8 oz Ricotta Cheese
1/2 c Grated Romano Cheese
1 Large Egg
4 oz of baby spinach
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
season to taste:
egg wash (beaten egg and milk)
flour (1 cup with salt and pepper)
Seasoned bread crumbs (2 cups)
10 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup Sambuca
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
3 cups Marinara
re-season to tastes
Yummmmm…Braciole(pronounced Bra zhole). Well I can promise you this, if you ask your Italian grandmother how to make a braciole it won’t be this way……….but, I can also promise you this, after you make and eat this you won’t care. You’ll just be happy!!
There are a lot of different cuts of meat you can use for Braciole, I like to use Eye Round because of the uniform size, it makes the slices pretty much all the same. But you can use Top Round if you like. In the restaurant when I would cut down a New York sirloin strip, the end of the strip that really couldn’t be served to a customer as a proper steak, would be frozen. When I had enough pieces to run Braciole as a special I would take them all out of the freezer, pound them out and make the glorious creation I call Braciole. I have also made them out of good sirloin and if I truly wanted to impress even Filet Mignon. That being said, we are going to use top round today for our braciole because Wegman’s didn’t have any small eye rounds but did have a nice cut of top round.
Before we start on the steak, we are first going to mix our stuffing. Start with the Ricotta cheese, then add your baby spinach, roasted pepper, egg, and cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Now this can sit in the refrigerator while you prepare your meat.
First you want to trim any excess fat, grizzle from what ever cut of meat you do use. Now slice the meat, against the grain, just like you would cut it if it was a roast. You are going to pound out these slices, and while there isn’t any rule for the size, its always nice for them to be consistent. The slice shouldn’t be much more than a 1/4 of an inch. (of course if your market carries thinly sliced pounded Braciole meat, by all means skip this step!!) For this recipe, we are going to make 2 braciole’s for each of our guests and lets plan on serving 4. So we want about a 1 1/2 pounds of trimmed meat. (at my restaurant one braciole would fill the plate, so size is up to you)
Now that your meat is sliced, you need to use a meat hammer and pound it thin, this will also help tenderized the meat, your meat hammer should have a ridged side that helps with the tenderizing. As you pound the steaks, don’t just pound straight down. You need to hold the piece and almost push it outwards as you hit the meat trying to stretch it as you pound. Once all your pieces are pounded you can begin to stuff them with our ricotta mixture.
While stuffing the steak, don’t be afraid to fill them nicely, but not so much than they cannot be rolled properly, as you tuck in the meat you want to try and close the ends in. If they don’t close all the way, its not the end of the world, some of the cheese mixture will ooze out during baking, but you can always push some back in, or just serve it with the braciole. I like to shape the braciole into small football shapes. Once they are all formed we need to getting our breading station ready. One is flour seasoned with salt and pepper, egg wash ( beaten egg with milk), and seasoned bread crumbs (your own or store bought). First dredge the steak in the seasoned flour (this is a good time to help reshape the braciole, the flour will help you close it up a little more), then in the egg wash, and then in the seasoned bread crumbs. Repeat the process until all the braciole are breaded.
At this time you want to get your oven ready, preheat it to 350 degrees. Now get out a saute pan, let it get hot, add some olive oil to the pan and add your braciole. Don’t be in a hurry to turn them over, you want a nice crust on the braciole and good colour. Turn your braciole over and allow this side to brown, repeat the process to the sides if you can. (Stacking them along side of each other when you do the sides will help keep them upright). Place all your finished braciole’s in your baking dish and place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
While the braciole is in the oven, we will begin our sauce.
We are going to assume you have made your marinara ahead of time, or like me make a huge batch and freeze into workable servings. We need sliced mushrooms for this sauce, Those of you that have an aversion to fungus may leave them out….but please try it with the mushrooms first before you decide you don’t like them….you may be surprised. Add your sliced mushrooms, into a saute pan, browning on both sides until partly done, add your splash of Sambuca(trust me on this one, just use the Sambuca) and allow alcohol to burn off. Now add your marinara, a nice handful of grated Romano cheese and re season with garlic, onion and black pepper. Allow this sauce to simmer briefly, then turn off heat until the braciole are ready to be served. Before serving add one more shot of Sambuca to enhance the taste…if the sauce has thickened up to much you can add just a little water.
Dress your serving dish with some of the sauce, then place the braciole on the dish and top with the remaining sauce……your guests will come back to the serving dish to get more sauce!!