What is known in America as "braciole" is known in Italy as "involtini" with many variations on the recipe. Thin slices of chicken, pork or beef are rolled with several differing fillings (ham, egg, bread crumbs, onions, and mushrooms) and are normally fried in olive oil. This particular recipe calls for the beef to be braised in a rich tomato and wine sauce for a couple of hours. It yields a rich and delectable sauce and an incredibly tender slice of beef. Filled with breadcrumbs, Pecorino Romano, parsley, and shredded provolone, then rolled tightly, it yields a gorgeous presentation when cut into. I used a porcini and portobello mushroom sauce I had on had that cooked down and intensified during braising. It ended up with an amazing flavor that complimented the beef more so than the average 'tomato sauce'. The Brit commented that it tasted like a restaurant quality meal and pretty much left me with a couple slices after enjoying the majority of the Braciole. I will take that as a compliment.
My friend Deb in England was cooking this along with me this past weekend so I am curious to see how it went for her. I hope she enjoyed it as much as we did.
Adapted from Everyday Italian
1/2 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/3 cup grated provolone
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/4 cups homemade tomato sauce or store-bought marinara sauce (I used a porcini and portobello sauce I had on hand)
Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.