I’m sure you’ve noticed a trend with the food that I make being that majority of the dishes are Italian dishes or at least involve pasta. When I’m away at school, I like to make things that remind me of the food my mom and I like to cook together when I’m back at home. Seeing as I’m in the first couple days of my Spring Break (also known as: “SPRING BREAK 2012! Woo!”), I decided to share my favorite meal on the entire face of this planet. Braciola (or Braciole, depending on who you talk to). My mom bought Giada’s “Everyday Italian” and we found this little delight tucked away in its pages. If you don’t have her book, you can also find the recipe here.
Braciola is essentially a roll of meat that’s been slow cooked for 2 hours in tomato sauce. Oh, and it’s filled with cheese and breadcrumbs! It’s amazing. I wish I had an oven proof skillet back at my apartment at school because I would make this pretty much all the time.
Some advice: the filling is going to fall out after you roll the meat and tie it. The filling is also going to fall out some more when you flip the meat over to sear in the skillet. This is all okay. The filling falling out after you roll it up and tie it can’t really be helped. When the filling falls out in the skillet, don’t get down on yourself. This is going to add some amazing flavors to the tomato sauce when it gets poured over the meat. Also, you’re going to need to buy some bread to mop up the sauce leftover from cooking the braciola. I can’t even tell you how much of a crime it would be if you didn’t get a loaf of bread for this (my recommendation: the frozen garlic bread you find in the freezer section of your grocery store). Okay, so calling it a crime is a tiny bit dramatic but it would definitely be cruel, so just promise me you won’t do it.
Oh and I should mention that you’re probably going to get a little hungry when the braciola is in the oven and you have to take it out and baste it every 30 minutes. The smell is incredible and you’re probably going to want to just eat it right then and there. But Don’t! The meat probably isn’t cooked all the way. So avoid any potential hunger pangs by making sure you have a little snack tucked away somewhere. Just make sure it’s a little snack because you are going to want to be hungry when you finally get to devour the braciola.
Use a good white wine when you’re making this braciola too. My mom gets a random bottle of chardonnay which is fine, I mean, wine is wine. Only it’s not. When you are going to pour yourself a glass before cleaning up the kitchen after the feast you have made, you’re going to want a great glass of wine, not some random bottle that was on sale at the grocery store. I’m not saying you need to hand over Mr. Andrew Jackson for a single bottle of wine but at least look for a bottle that is more than $6. I’m sorry, if it’s $6 or less you’re probably holding a bottle of Arbor Mist (and don’t think I’m a snob or anything, it’s just that, this is no time for Arbor Mist).
The steak is tender and the sauce is delicious. Each slice is about the size of your fist which is great since you know it’s about a serving. It’s a little sad when it’s gone, but again, that’s what the bread is for. I’m not going to lie… I contributed nothing to the making of this braciola. I should have at least offered to help but it’s not really a two person job and my mom is better at making this than me. So… thanks for the braciola, Mom!