This Italian braciole is meat stuffed with cheese that is slow cooked in a tomato sauce for hours and is the perfect Italian comfort food for a cold night. Make no mistake, it is labor intensive in the beginning but the work you put up front is so worth the meal you get at the end.
I’m not one that eats or makes beef that often. Usually if I do, I make some version of short ribs. But a few years ago I was looking for a good comfort dish during the holidays and came across Giada’s braciole recipe on Food Network. I had never had braciole but immediately recognized the name at least from watching Everybody Loves Raymond. Anybody that watched that show knows that was his favorite dish that his mom made. I’m not going to lie though, before looking at Giada’s recipe I really had no idea what braciole was. I knew it had beef but didn’t know what else.
Basically braciole is meat stuffed with cheese that has been simmering in a sauce for hours. I mean just reading that, you’re hooked right? At least I was when I first learned what it was. Yes this recipe does involve store-bought marinara sauce but I’ve done homemade sauce with this and to me it wasn’t enough of a difference for the extra work. So my apologies for any that might this it’s blasphemous to make an Italian braciole with store-bought sauce. Either way, you should give this a try.
What Ingredients are in Italian Braciole?
- Olive oil
- Produce – sweet onion, garlic, Italian parsley
- Italian-style breadcrumbs
- Parmesan cheese
- Provolone cheese
- Flank steak
- Dry red wine
- Marinara sauce
- Spices – crushed red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper
Is the Provolone Cheese Necessary?
No. I just like the combination of Parmesan with provolone but if you don’t want to but two types of cheese, just stick with Parmesan.
Should I Make My Own Marinara Sauce?
As I mentioned above I’ve made my own and used store-bought sauce and haven’t noticed enough of a difference to continue making a sauce. The flavor really comes for searing the flank steak and the red wine. So I suggest using a good bottle of red wine and a store-bought marinara sauce you like. For me, Prego is my go-to sauce.
This Italian braciole is meat stuffed with cheese that is slow cooked in a tomato sauce for hours and is the perfect Italian comfort food for a cold night.
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/4 lb pancetta, diced
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup grated provolone
- 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 (1 1/2 lb) flank steak
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3 cups store-bought marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 350F. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until it's browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and crushed red pepper and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. With 1 minute remaining, add garlic. Remove and let cool.
Mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir in the pancetta onion mixture until everything is combined. Set aside.
Lay the flank steak flat and pound until about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly to cover the steak. Starting at the short end, roll up the steak like you would a jelly roll to enclose the filling. Using some butcher's twice, tie the steak to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the wine and bring to a boil and stir in the marinara sauce. Cover and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Baste with the sauce very 30 minutes and remove the cover with 30 minutes remaining.
Remove the twine and cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally. Transfer to a plate and spoon sauce over to serve.