Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Family Food Memories

When I was growing up, we would spend Christmas Day with my dad's side of the family. My uncle, who was married to my dad's sister, was Italian and every year, he made braciole for Christmas dinner. Now he made it the old school Italian way which involved a lot of time and effort. And when I was little I refused to touch it because it had hard boiled eggs in it and I thought that the idea of meat, eggs and tomato sauce was gross. Once I grew up some, I loved it. I asked him once how he made it and I just remember it was long and complicated. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to actually get the recipe from him, he was suffering from early Alzheimer's and it was too late. But I have started the tradition of making it at Christmas for my family but I also like to make it just because. I made it last night and several people asked for the recipe. Mine is actually a hybrid of this recipe and this one. So here is my version:


1/2 C dried, Italian style breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 C Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
1/3 C grated provolone
2 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
4 tbs. olive oil
1 (1 1/2 lb. flank steak or any meat that is cut thin or marked as braciole meat)
4-8 paper thins slices of prosciutto
1 C dry red wine
3 1/4 C marinara sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients (through parsley) in a bowl. Add 2 tbs. of alive oil and mix well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

Lay the flank steak flat on a work surface. Lay the prosciutto slices over the steak. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the prosciutto completely. Starting at the short end, roll up the steak like a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, dd the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce ever half an hour. After 1 hour, uncover and continue and baking until the meat is tender, about a half an hour longer. Total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Transfer the slices to a platter and spoon the sauce over the meat before serving.

I serve mine over polenta and my family loves it. Add a Caesar salad and you have a great Italian meal!

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