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Braised Beef Braciola Stuffed with Basil and Mozzarella

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Serves 6

  • by Tony Rosenfeld from Big Buy Cooking

This is a home-style version of the Italian-American classic. The traditional dish uses small roulades of beef round, but here we use a whole flank steak because it’s quicker and easier to stuff and roll one large cut and the flank offers a wonderful flavor. If you want to build up the stuffing, add prosciutto or hearty greens like kale.

  • One 2 lb. flank steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
  • 12 large basil leaves, torn into pieces 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into thin strips (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • One 28-oz. can whole tomatoes and their juices (3 cups), puréed (preferably San Marzano)
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered

Set the flank steak on a large cutting board. Using a chef’s knife, slice the steak lengthwise along one long side (without cutting all the way through the meat) and open it up like a book. Using a meat mallet, flatten the meat so it is about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. For the stuffing, put the mozzarella, Parmigiano, breadcrumbs, and basil in a mini chopper or food processor and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the stuffing evenly over one side of the beef, and roll it up lengthwise jelly roll–style with the stuffing inside. Secure with kitchen twine in five or six places.

Heat half the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering. Add the beef and cook until it browns and releases easily from the pan, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the onion to the pan, and lower the heat to medium. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until the onion wilts completely and turns a light brown, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine and cook, stirring, until it almost completely reduces, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and tuck the meat and mushrooms into the broth. Cover and cook, repositioning the meat occasionally, until the meat becomes tender and cuts easily with a paring knife, about 1-1/2 hours. Set the meat on a cutting board and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Thinly slice and serve topped with the sauce and vegetables.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Sautéed Broccoli Raab or Fennel Layered with Potatoes & Breadcrumbs (Tortiera di Finocchi e Patate).

Photo: Maren Caruso

This was alright, but tasted very much like swiss steak. You really couldn't detect the basil and cheese flavor, and for all the work of rolling it, it wasn't worth it. The sauce was very flavorful, though.

I pretty much followed the recipe. My flank steak was between 1-1/2 and 2 pounds. Some of the stuffing escaped during the braising, which resulted in a nice surprise for a lucky person at the dinner table. I had my doubts about whether the meat would be fall-apart tender. Well, it was! And the flavors of the braciole and the sauce were fantastic. This is a definite keeper. Next time I'll make rigatoni or penne and serve it with the sauce, meat on the side. Make this on a chilly Sunday. Pure comfort.

recipe sounds wonderful! I Have not made it yet. I want to make it w/ prosciutto...how much Prosciutto did you add?

yummy! i added the proscuitto to the stuffing, which really made this dish! other than that, i followed the recipe to the letter. the one thing that i was unable to do was pound the meat to 1/4" thickness. i just wasn't patient enough. as a result, the meat was not as tender as i expected it to be. next time, i will have my butcher butterfly and pound the flank steak for me. i will definitely try this again...maybe in the slow cooker! it makes one delicious sauce :-)

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