2/25/11

4 Braciole & Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs






Have you heard of a dish so often that you've wanted to make it?

I am a fan of the tv show, Everybody Loves Raymond.  Those of you who are familiar with this show know that Marie (Raymond's mother), is the best cook around.   Italian dishes are part of the story:  Bruschetta.  Cannoli.  Braciole. 

Ray's wife, however hard she tries, is not the best cook.  Debra's best dish is lemon chicken, but she surprises Ray with making Braciole, a rich and hearty entree of prosciutto, provolone, pine nuts and raisins.  To everyone's surprise, the dish is a hit, especially since Debra swapped out the raisins and put in currants.

A quick Internet search turned up Giadia De Laurentiss's recipe for braciole that got great reviews. 

Here's how my braciole turned out...

This recipe calls for a flank steak.  Holy moly, the prices for this is outrageous!  I finally settled on this one I found at Winco, a better price than $7-$8 in other stores:
This steak is almost 3/4" thick.  I tried to pound it with a frying pan, but it just would not budge...
I went ahead anyways.  I made my own Italian bread crumbs by running a couple of slices of wheat bread in the food processor, toasting it in the oven and tossing it with salt, parsley flakes, garlic and onion powders, oregano, basil and just a touch of sugar.  Recipe provided at end of post.




The recipe calls for grated Pecorino Romano and provolone cheeses, which are also hugely expensive!  I settle for this Western Family shredded cheese Italian mix...



Tossed the cheeses in with the bread crumb mixture and a couple of tablespoons of oil to hold it together.  Spread this mixture on the flank steak and began to roll it...



It was quite tough to roll such a thick piece, but I somehow managed.



Browned the meat on all sides in an oven safe skillet...



and added Giadia's simple marinara (which I thought was toooo oily.  I skimmed off 1/4 c. of the oil).  You can always use your favorite spaghetti sauce...

The oven safe skillet is put into the oven and baked for about 1 1/2 hours.  The reviewers said that this was too long and their meat turned out tough.  I opted to cook it till it reached an internal temp of 145°F, which took one hour. 

Removed the strings and sliced the braciole.  It was a beautiful presentation...
and served it with penne pasta and reserved marina sauce.



Results?  Hubby loved it and ate every bit.  Me?  I'm not a big fan of beef, but I enjoyed the pasta.  Here's what I would do differently:

1.  Get a different cut of beef, maybe a boneless top round and have my friendly butcher slice it thin for me! 

2.  Use a different marinara sauce.  Giadia's recipe of 1/2 cup of oil was too oily; I'd reduce  it to 1/4 cup.  The canned tomatoes I used were too acidic; I used a teaspoon of sugar and 2 T. of butter to sweeten it up a little.  Or, just save my sanity and buy a bottle of spaghetti sauce!

3.  Try a different braciole recipe.  I finally found "the recipe" that was used in the tv show, Braciole Di Manzo, which calls for prosciutto, pine nuts, currants or raisins. 

Braciole: Giadi De Laurentiis

Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)

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