Sunday, October 18, 2009

Salami and Provolone Stuffed Beef Braciola

As much as I
dislike winter (my mother always said never to use the word hate), there is something about the smells coming from my kitchen during winter months that brings back loads of great memories. Maybe it's because the smell of salad just doesn't waft through your house the way a warm pot of stew or an apple pie does. Ahhh... Heaven! Or maybe it's because so many of my greatest childhood memories are related to family meals. Whatever it is, food and memories go hand and hand in my book. Part of the reason I started this blog was because I wanted to help families eat better and help people understand that sharing meals together is so much more than good for our bodies, it's good for our souls. Even if your parents weren't great cooks, I bet you have stories to tell about how your mom burns her Thanksgiving turkey EVERY YEAR! Or how dad manages to boil the life out of any green vegetable set before him. The point is, you have those stories and those stories are priceless. And every time you smell turkey you will think of your mom and how great it was to be together, at that moment, as a family because every moment is precious.

We are all WAY too busy. But we must remember, there will never be another day like today.
Please take some time to cook and eat with the ones you love. Even if it's just to burn a grilled cheese sandwich. I promise you, the laughs and the stories you will share will be some of the most delicious memories of your life.

**I dedicate this dish to my son Griffin. It reminds me of my mom and I hope someday when he's making it for his children, it will remind him of me.

Salami and Provolone Stuffed Beef Braciola
Serves 6 people

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 c flat leaf parsley
2 large garlic cloves
1 large egg
2 lb flank steak pounded out to 1/2 inch thickness
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 lb Genoa salami, thinly sliced
1/4 lb Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1 12 oz can of crushed tomatoes ( I use Pomi)
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup torn basil

1. Place 1/4 c olive oil, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic cloves and the egg in a food processor and process until mixture looks moist and holds together slightly when you squeeze some of it in the palm of your hand.

2. Lay flank steak out on a flat surface and season with salt and pepper. Spread breadcrumb evenly mixture over meat, leaving a slight border (about 1/4inch). Layer the Salami and Provolone evenly over the bread crumb mixture. Roll up the meat tightly as if you are making a jellyroll, then secure the roll in several places with cooking twine (I usually use unflavored dental floss because I never remember to buy twine).

3. Heat remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the roll to the pot to sear. Turn the roll with tongs so it gets evenly browned on each side, about 10-12 minutes. Adjust the heat to low and add in the crushed tomatoes, water, red wine, red pepper flakes torn basil plus some extra salt and pepper (if necessary). Cover with a lid and simmer for about an hour. Place the meat on a serving platter or cutting board and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Thinly slice the meat and serve topped with sauce.

Makes great leftovers too! Enjoy!


-Want an even heartier dish? Drop some baby potatoes into the sauce 1/2 hour before the Braciola is cooked.

-Serve over Pasta or with Creamy Soft Polenta.

-Use leftovers for a sandwich the next day.

-Swap out the Provolone and Salami for your favorite cheese/meat combo. Prosciutto and Mozzarella are great too!

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