Hearty, Italian comfort food, perfect for a midweek meal
Try this homely beef braciola with capellini pasta and it will become a go-to dish
- SERVES: 6
- PREP TIME: 15 mins
- COOK TIME: 1.5 hrs
- DIFFICULTY: pretty easy
What is beef braciole
Basically, it’s thin slices of beef with delicious savoury fillings, slowly braised in a tomato and wine sauce.
Or Grandma Gunstone would call them ‘beef roll-ups’.
Which is exactly what you do… roll the beef up!
In Italian, it’s also called involtini (rolled stuffed meat).
And it often cooked as a comfort dish on a Sunday with family.
It’s a well-known southern Italian dish.
So, a lot of the fillings used include prosciutto, pecorino, garlic and herbs.
Then served in an incredible sauce with pasta.
But you can use whatever fillings you desire.
Beef braciole with capellini pasta
The word braciola (braciole is the plural) can use different types of thin meat.
And as with most things’ foodie in Italy.
It depends on the region and its influences throughout history.
So, in Southern Italy, the Neapolitan-style dish uses beef or pork.
And due to the influences from Ancient Greece and from the times of French rule.
The meat is filled with ingredients like prosciutto, raisins, pine nuts, and cheese.
Then seared and slow-cooked in a tasty tomato sauce.
Whereas, in the Northern parts of Italy, it’s usually veal or pork.
Beef braciole (Braciola) and beef scaloppine
Although, I have chosen to do beef braciola.
It’s worth knowing another super tasty and quick dish, beef scaloppine in butter.
Both are made with thin, individual slices of beef such as flank steak.
Or you can make it with veal… pork… or turkey.
But the main difference is beef braciole has it’s awesome fillings like cheese, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, prosciutto or salami.
However, if you’re in a rush, I highly recommend beef scaloppine in butter
How to make beef braciole (braciola)
- Thinly sliced topside or top sirloin beef.
- Pound it out first to tenderize it, then cut it in half width-wise to make it the perfect size to lay slices of prosciutto.
- Place a piece of prosciutto over the pounded beef.
- Top with a combination of Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic and fresh Italian parsley.
- Roll up the sheet of beef to form a roll and put a skewer or tie with butcher’s twine.
- Brown the braciola and add to a nice tomato sauce and simmer for 1 – 2hrs
What to serve with braciole
Like with a lot of Southern-Italian recipes.
This Neapolitan braciola recipe is usually served as a second course.
But I served it as the main midweek meal course with capellini pasta.
And tossed it in the lush tomato sauce.
Then I placed it on a large serving platter with the braciola on top with grated parmesan.
Of course, you can use other pastas like Rigatoni or Tortiglioni.
However, you could also serve it with mash and some greens.
Frankly, it goes with pretty much anything.
It’s such a versatile, comforting dish.
Beef Braciole with capellini pasta
For the braciola
- 6 thin slices boneless flank steak, top round steak or top blade steak
- 12 cloves, garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 12 thin slices of prosciutto (I get mine online from Harvey and Brockless)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 x 400 g tinned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 2 tbsp Heaped all-purpose flour
Making the braciola
- This depends on what the butcher provides you with but ultimately you need to end up with 12 thin pieces of beef of equal size. So you may need to cut your beef in half and then flatten between 2 pieces of cling film until they are approx. 1/4 – 1/8 inch thickness.
- Mince 4 cloves of garlic (slice the remaining 8 cloves).
- Now, mix the minced garlic, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.Lay prosciutto slices over each of the beef slices, then sprinkle filling evenly over them.Roll the beef into a cylinder and secure with toothpicks.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot deep over medium-high heat and put 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.
- Now, add the wine and the sliced garlic and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom (this is flavour!).Next, add beef stock, tinned tomatoes and Italian seasoning and put the 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 ½ hrs.
- Once cooked, remove the beef rolls and thicken the cooking liquid by adding the flour and stir until smooth (tip: add flour to a small bowl with milk, mix until smooth, then add to the sauce to thicken – it helps ensure no lumps).Add the beef rolls back in and slowly bring to a slow simmer and cook until thickened.Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove toothpicks and serve over pasta with parmesan.