Beef braciole is a hearty, slowly-simmered homestyle southern Italian dish that’s perfect for a wintry night.
There are numerous variations of this classic southern Italian dish (typically pronounced “brah-CHOL-ee”). You may also see it referred to as Involtini di Manza. The dish is basically a filling of cheese, breadcrumbs and prosciutto (or salami) which is placed atop thin slices of beef.
The filling may also include spinach, pine nuts and raisins. It could also be prepared as one large roll using flank steak. The beef is then rolled, secured with toothpicks and braised until fork-tender in a wine-based sauce.
This version of beef braciole was adapted from a recipe in the “The Sopranos Family Cookbook.” A client who was a fan of the show asked me to prepare the recipe a number of years ago. It’s been a favorite on my personal chef menu ever since.
I made a few changes from the original such as adding breadcrumbs to the filling to give it more body and beef broth to the sauce. When I made the recipe as directed in the cookbook, the sauce had a tendency to thicken substantially during cooking. The original recipe calls for fresh basil in the sauce. However, dried basil or and Italian herb blend works well when basil is not in season.
Ask your butcher for thinly sliced boneless top round. The slices are quite large, so you will want to cut them in half widthwise to create four smaller pieces that are about the size of a small plate.
Prosciutto is a dry-cured Italian ham. Prosciutto di Parma is imported from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and can be quite expensive. Less expensive domestic brands are available in most supermarket deli departments.
Beef braciole can be assembled ahead of time. Brown the rolls and get the sauce prepared. Let cool, and then refrigerate. When ready to cook, place back on the stovetop or in a preheated oven to finish. It’s also a perfect dish for your slow cooker.
Serve the beef rolls over thick, tube-shaped pasta such as ziti, penne or rigatoni along with a green salad and crusty, garlicky bread.
20 minPrep Time
2 hrCook Time
2 hr, 20 Total Time
2 thin slices boneless top round (about 1 pound)
8 cloves garlic, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving if desired
1 tablespoon seasoned dry breadcrumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 thin slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 can (14-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Cut top round slices in half widthwise so that you have 4 equal pieces. Place beef between two pieces of plastic wrap. Gently pound to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness.
Mince 4 cloves of garlic; slice the remaining 4 cloves.
Combine minced garlic, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle filling evenly among all beef slices. Place a prosciutto slice over the filling.
Roll the beef into a cylinder, tucking in the sides to hold in the filling as you roll. Secure with toothpicks.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Place the beef rolls, seam side down in the pot and brown seam side first to seal it. Cook, turning the meat occasionally until each roll is nicely browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
Add the wine and the sliced garlic. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add beef broth, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Place beef rolls back in the pot and bring back to a simmer.
Cover and cook on low heat, turning occasionally until beef is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours. Alternately, cook covered in a 325-degree oven for 1 1/2-2 hours or in a slow cooker for 3-4 hours on high, 5-6 hours on medium or 7-8 hours on low. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove toothpicks and serve over pasta with additional grated cheese if desired.