In Italy the dish is involtini or involtini di manzo. Literally it means small bite and consists of a small bite of food with an outer layer or wrapper. Invotini di manzo is made with beef, as manzo means beef.
This braciole recipe is one of the many dishes I ate as a kid. Now when I make it all those memories come flooding back and they make me happy and grateful. Happy I grew up in an Italian family, and grateful that my grandma and mom taught me how to cook. I know I say it all the time, but that is what comfort food is supposed to do.
Not only is my family’s braciole recipe absolutely delicious but it is a relatively straightforward dish. The most difficult part is probably tying the meat after it is rolled.
How To Make My Family’s Braciole Recipe
Lay out the round steak and remove the bone, if it has one. Sometimes the butcher removes the bone, beforehand. Trim a bit of the excess fat, around the edges.
Lay the round steak between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound out the meat until it is about a quarter inch thick, about 5 to 6 millimeters. Remove the top layer of plastic.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs, pecorino, parsley, and garlic.
Arrange the eggs end to end across the bottom section of the steak.
Starting from the bottom end roll the steak up into a “jelly” roll.
To tie the braciole, lay a length of butcher’s twine under the meat. Leave a 3-inch length on one end.
When I tie anything I leave the twine attached. In other words I don’t try and guess how much length I am going to need. I just continue to pull the twine from the ball until I have tied the whole thing.
Starting at the attached end of the string loop the twine with your thumb and forefinger. Then drop the loop over the meat and tighten it, repeat until the meat is tied.
When you are done it should look like this. Alternatively, you could tie the meat with 10 or so, individual lengths of twine.
In a 12-inch saute pan, over medium heat, brown the braciole in EVO until the outside is lightly caramelized all the way around.
Braciole after braising and thoroughly chilled. This is why I take the extra step of chilling the meat overnight in the sauce. It looks beautiful and it holds together.
The Marinara Recipe
Authentic Italian marinara is one of those culinary enigmas, the whole being far far greater than the sum of its parts. The marinara recipe we used, in Italy, consisted of San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh sweet basil, and salt, that’s it!
My chef told me once, that just occasionally the tomatoes may not be quite as sweet as they should be. In that case it was acceptable to add a pinch of sugar.
My family’s marinara recipe is made in that identical way, four humble ingredients. However, when we make a meat sauce we build on that basic recipe and, depending on the meat, we may add onion, garlic, parsley, or red wine. For our braciole recipe we add all four.
Parsley, sweet basil, red onion, and garlic.
The sauce for the braciole recipe. At this point the braciole is in the sauce.