Braciole…one of my favorite Italian dishes. Although, I do not stick to the traditional recipe, I think you will find mine pretty amazing. Basically, I just substitute the breadcrumbs for cream soaked Italian bread…so how can that be a bad thing? I used flank steak. If you can’t find flank, top round will do. You will be pounding the meat, not only to tenderize, but to also flatten.
Add the heavy whipping cream to a bowl. Tear off tiny pieces of the bread and add to the cream. Mix and allow to soak for a few minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Add in the chopped parsley, minced garlic and cheeses. Combine well. The mixture should have a paste-like consistency. If it is too dry, add another tablespoon or so of cream.
Lay the flank on a flat surface. Trim off fat, if necessary. With a mallet or tenderizer, flatten as much as you can without breaking the meat. I think I flattened mine to just under a half inch. Season the flank with kosher salt and pepper. Spread an even layer of the filling on top of the meat.
Heat up two tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe pot. I am in love with this enameled cast iron pot from Lodge. Click here. From the short end, start rolling the flank…try to keep as tight as you can. When finished rolling, tuck in the sides. With kitchen twine, tie up the roll. Place in pot and allow to brown on all sides. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Once roll is browned on all sides, remove from pot and reserve on a dish. In the same pot, add in another tablespoon of olive oil, along with the garlic and onions. Cook for a minute or so. Add in the beef broth and red wine, release any browned bits from the bottom. Add in the tomatoes, jarred marinara, crushed red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and fresh basil. Cook for a few more minutes. Taste. Season with kosher salt and pepper. NOTE: If you do not want to make the sauce, you can skip the above, and just add your favorite marinara to the pot once the flank has browned.
Add the flank roll (seam side up) back to the pot, along with any juices. Cover with a few spoonfuls of the tomato mixture. Cover with lid and place in oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Every once in a while, spoon more of the tomato mixture onto the meat. This will just ensure that it stays moist and tender.
Remove the Braciole from the oven. Allow the braciole to rest a few minutes prior to cutting. Slice, ladle sauce and garnish with more fresh basil. Serve with pasta, polenta, or even my Parmesan Risotto. ENJOY!