Growing up Italian, the granddaughter of Italian Immigrants and only the second generation born in the United States, you take for granted the food that you grew up on and assume that everyone had dined with family over these same foods on Sunday. That the mounds of pasta, homemade Chianti, bowls overflowing of beef braciole, meatballs, and sausage, salad, and bakery fresh bread, were consumed by everyone as a ritual on Sunday at 1:00 in the afternoon.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that these cherished moments of my youth were not necessarily a regular occurrence in many families, and I came to appreciate my Italian heritage so much more as a result.
Aside from my grandmother’s most amazing meatballs was the beef braciole that she made. I wish I had paid attention to how she lovingly prepared it, but I was impatient and flighty in my youth and it was all about the eating, sadly. However, I was fortunate enough to observe my Dad on many occasions and this Neapolitan Beef Braciole is my adaptation of our family’s recipe.
How is this braciole different?
This recipe varies from the Sicilian’s slightly as they like to add raisins, and they don’t add mozzarella. Me on the other hand I love to have cheese oozing out the beef rolls. That’s how my dad made his and that is what I came to love. To me this is sheer heaven and makes me blissfully happy to eat!
What kind of beef can I use?
Truth is it is a bit labor intensive, but so totally worth it! Trick to making this tender is to pound away at your beef to get it thin and break down the tough fibers in the beef. You will then stuff, roll, tie, sear, and simmer in gravy for at least and hour, two all the better and I promise you, you will then understand why Italians’ are so fond of this curious concoction, called braciole. For best results you can use top round or sirloin in this recipe.
I hope you give this a try! It truly is sheer perfection.
Neapolitan Beef Braciole
An Italian classic stuffed beef that is tender and flavorful bursting with cheesy goodness, It's the perfect accompaniment for Sunday gravy and macaroni!
- Don’t even think about making this without pounding the meat thinly. If you don’t tenderize the beef it will be tough, and you will not be able to fill and roll it properly. You can increase quantities to serve more.
- 1 1/2 lbs. of top round steak, pounded thinly
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1/4 cup of italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. of red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- butcher’s twine or toothpicks to secure beef rolls
- Marinara sauce homemade or store bought
- Line a cutting board with plastic wrap, place the beef on top of the plastic wrap, then cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, with a meat mallet begin to pound out the beef to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch in thickness. Season with Kosher salt and cracked pepper and set aside. I like to pound out the steak in one big piece than cut it into serving size pieces.
- In a large bowl combine garlic, cheeses, herbs, and Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
- Take the steak after it is pounded thinly, making certain to season both sides of the meat. Take a roll, and fill it down the center, careful not to overfill so you can roll. To roll meat begin at one end as you begin to push in the sides to make a cylinder type roll. Tie off with butcher’s twine or toothpicks to secure.
- In a large skillet with EVOO on medium high heat, begin to sear the braciole. You are not cooking it through at this point, you just want to brown it on all sides. You can do this in two batches. When you are done frying all of the braciole, you can let it simmer in your favorite sauce for at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Just a word about searing the braciole, you do not want to over cook this when you are frying it, you want it to remain close to a medium rare while it simmers, overcooking the meat will not yield a tender, and flavorful braciole no matter how long you simmer it for. Serve with pasta or by itself topped with sauce and grated Pecorino Romano cheese if you so desire. Mangia!
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