This Authentic Italian Beef Braciole Recipe is perfect for a Sunday family dinner with tender beef rolled up with breadcrumbs, pine nuts, raisins, and cheese, then simmered all day in a rich red wine tomato sauce.
If you've never had braciole (pronounced brah-schole) before, it basically tastes like a warm hug from an Italian grandmother. Thin slices of beef are rolled up with a mixture of breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs, then stewed in a red wine tomato sauce until tender. It’s one of my favorite classic Italian recipes, right along with my authentic meatballs and marinara sauce.
This recipe uses the classic Sicilian combination of garlic, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, seasoned bread crumbs, toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and lots of parmesan cheese. But this recipe is highly customizable, and you’ll see recipes using different types of cheeses, herbs, vegetables, and even additional meats like prosciutto.
You may also see braciole made in little individual bundles with really thin pieces of meat, similar to how we make spiedini. In this recipe, we’re making one large bundle and slicing it for individual servings.
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s easy to make ahead.
- Rich delicious flavor with little hands-on time.
- Leftovers taste even better the next day!
- Beautiful to serve, perfect for entertaining, family gatherings or date nights.
- Flank steak - This steak can also be called a London broil or a plank steak. It’s inexpensive, flavorful, and easy to use. Look for a steak that’s around ½ an inch in thickness, or plan to butterfly it (slice it in half down the thickness of it) so that you have a ½ inch thick slice of meat to roll with.
- Canned tomatoes - I like using canned whole peeled tomatoes for this recipe (and a lot of others!). You always know what you’re going to get, and they’re so easy to turn into a rich and flavorful sauce. Just use your hands or the back of a spoon to crush the tomatoes when adding them to the pot.
- Parmesan cheese - I highly recommend looking for genuine Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano and shredding it yourself. The taste is incredibly fresh and you’ll know that it’s free from artificial additives and preservatives.
- Raisins -You technically can leave the raisins out if you really want to, but I highly suggest trying it with them! I really like using golden raisins, also called Sultanas, but dark raisins can be used too.
- Butchers Twine - The braciole must be tied up before being cooked, otherwise it will fall apart and the filling will spill out. Butchers twine is inexpensive and helpful to have on hand for many uses. You can use several toothpicks to hold it together in a pinch, but the twine is much easier to use.
Step by Step Instructions
- Add the raisins, chopped parsley, grated cheese, minced garlic, bread crumbs, pine nuts, and two tablespoons of olive oil to a bowl, then mix to combine.
- If the flank steak is very thick, use a knife to butterfly it to make it about ½ inch thick.
- Pound the flank steak out with a meat mallet to tenderize and flatten.
- Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, then spread the breadcrumb mixture out evenly over the flank steak, leaving a ¼ inch border on all sides.
- Starting with a short end, roll the meat up, being sure to keep as much filling inside as possible.
- Use some butchers twine to tie it up about 3-5 times around to keep the roll intact.
- Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-large saucepan.
- When the oil is shimmering hot, add the braciole and brown the meat on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
- Remove the braciole from the pan and lower the heat. Add in the minced onion and sliced garlic and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the red wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Add the tomatoes and bay leaf, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then place the braciole back in the pan and spoon some sauce over top.
- Turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 3 hours, rotating the braciole every 20-30 minutes.
- Use a fork to check to see if the meat is tender, then remove the braciole from the sauce and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
- Slice the braciole into rounds and serve with the sauce.
Tips for Success
- Tie the steak together loosely enough that the filling is not squeezed out of the steak, but tight enough that it doesn't fall apart while you’re rotating it in the pot.
- Make sure the oil is hot in the pan before adding the meat so that you get a nice sear on each side.
- Keep the pot to just a simmer and not a boil while the braciole is braising. If you have the heat too hot, the sauce will evaporate too quickly and burn.
What to serve with Braciole
For a complete meal, serve your braciole with:
- Greens (try sauteed spinach with butter and parmesan)
- Roasted vegetables
How to Store and Reheat
I like to make my life easy and store braciole in the pot with a lid if I only keep it overnight. This way, you can just put the pot back on the stove and heat over low-medium until everything is warmed through.
If you only have a small amount left or aren’t planning on eating it the very next day, place everything into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. When ready to eat, add it to a small pot over the stove and reheat over low-medium heat.
FAQS About Italian Braciole
Braciole is often made from a long roll of flank steak. If making small individual rolls, slices of top round may be used. Pork or veal can also be used in place of beef.
While they are quite similar, Spiedini means "skewer" in Italian and can refer to a number of different Italian meat preparations. My recipe uses pecorino Romano, lots of onions, and bay leaves and gets baked, while my braciole uses parmesan, a little bit of garlic, and parsley and is braised.
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