Foodie Friday: Braciole

If the low-carb diet had a champion – like a Gastronomic Gladiator that would just deflate fluffy yeasty bread and chewy pasta with one withering look – it’s braciole. Still, you can’t have it too often or you’ll get meat sweats and want to go start a war. No one wants that. Use the braciole judiciously. You’ve been warned.

Vegetarians, look away. This is not for you.

But oh my BRAH-SHEE-OH-LAY! So good. So good that when I was in university, I would pine away for braciole and my roommate would goad me on to make it. I didn’t know how though, so I made no less than 3 long distance calls to The Uncles to get the recipe. Finally, my Uncle Beano, came through for us. It took me a while to explain to him what I wanted, since I couldn’t find the name of the thing in my barely-20 year old brain.

“You know, the beef rolled up with the egg?” I could hear my Auntie Clara arguing with him in the background about what I could be thinking of. They had this great banter and when we finally figured out what I wanted, they argued the whole conversation about the order of the steps and the best ingredients to use. And where in Hamilton to buy them – not that locations in Hamilton were doing me any good when I was in Kingston. But that’s OK. The seriousness of the braciole cannot be disputed.  In any case, they agreed that it was a good dish to make to impress a boy. Yeah, my gay roommate and I would both keep that in mind. Anyway, that long distance bill was worth it – even on a student budget.

Braciole are hard-boiled eggs, wrapped in Provolone cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, wrapped in a beef cutlet. It’s barnyard chaos. All the creatures of the farm are represented. All the delicious delicious creatures of the farm.  Then braise that in tomato sauce, you’ve got braciole. Your house will smell great while this is happening, too.  Unless you’re a vegetarian. Seriously, vegetarians. Stop now.

So on to the method:

This step is possibly the most important, so don’t skip it. Eat at least one piece of prosciutto and one slice of Provolone cheese. This shows the Kitchen Angels that you’re serious.

Pound the beef cutlets with a meat tenderizer to make them thinner.

Sprinkle with Italian breadcrumbs (or add some Italian herbs or even just dried oregano to some regular mangiacake breadcrumbs). Lay slices of prosciutto on top of the breadcrumbs. Lay slices of Provolone cheese on top of the prosciutto. Lay halved (or quartered, depending on how big the beef cutlets are) hard boiled eggs on top of the Provolone cheese.

braciole-steps

Grind some pepper and salt over the top of the eggs.

Then roll the beef cutlet up, jelly roll style and stab it with some toothpicks to keep it together. This part is not pretty. The eggs will maybe fall out. The cutlets will maybe not wrap all the way around. You might stab yourself with a toothpick. Don’t worry, the tomato sauce hides all the flaws, so whatever.

braciole-sauced

Put the rolled cutlets in a baking dish. I use a 9×12 pyrex lasagna pan. Pour some tomato sauce over the top. Hm. I should have maybe started with the Joy of the Sauce. Ah well. Use homemade, use store bought. If you’ve faithfully done the first step, the Kitchen Angels will smile on you either way. I actually like it without tomato sauce too. Sorry Uncle Beano and Uncle Jack. I know that might be heresy.

Cook at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is boiling in the pan (assuming you’re using sauce, that is). Some of this timing depends on how fat your braciole are. If you actually roll all the way around, it will take a little longer. Everything is cooked already except the outside layer, so it doesn’t take too long. You could stab them with a thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature is correct, if you are worried about it.

braciole-unsauced

Warn your dinner companions that there are toothpicks in the braciole. No one will thank you when their braciole fight back.

braciole-plated

And that’s it! Nomnomnom.

 

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