Italy has been very close to my heart recently with all the horrendous images that we were seeing on the news at the beginning of this pandemic – So very far from all those lovely memories that we have of holidays spent in that wonderful country.
Many moons ago, before we made our move to France, Italy was actually the first place that we considered moving to. But, France was just easier and better connected to friends and family around the world.
But, I must admit, and don’t tell anyone, even though I live in France I actually prefer Italian to French food. And it’s so much more than just pasta and pizza. But, that is the great thing about travel. Getting to taste the food from another country and Italy isn’t so far away.
Beef Braciole also known as Involtini (rolls in Italian) is a hearty southern style dish. Slices of beef or veal are rolled around a filling and slow cooked in a wine and tomato sauce.
Ingredients for 6 people 2 rolls each
12 thin slices rump or sirloin or 6 slices cut in half if they are large
Or you can use veal or pork escalopes
(about 1 kg) get your butcher to cut if you don’t have a super sharp knife
10 cloves garlic
A generous handful of chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, plus more for garnish
250ml of shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese, plus more for serving if desired
2 tablespoons seasoned dry breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 thin slices prosciutto
50g pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
500ml dry red wine
500ml cups beef broth
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Cut half width wise so that you have 12 equal pieces if the slices are large. Place beef between two pieces of plastic wrap. Gently pound 5mm to 10mm thickness.
- Mince 4 cloves of garlic; slice the remaining 6 cloves.
- Combine minced garlic, parsley, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Place a prosciutto slice over the beef then sprinkle filling evenly over all beef slices.
- Roll the beef into a cylinder, tucking in the sides to hold in the filling as you roll. Secure with toothpicks or butchers string tied around the rolls and secured.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron casserole on a medium high heat on the stove. Place the beef rolls, seam side down in the pot and brown seam side first to seal it. Brown the rolls evenly before transferring 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 to a simmer.
- Cover and cook in the oven at about 150°c, turning occasionally until beef is tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours.
- To thicken, place pot back on the stove if cooked in the oven. Remove some of the hot cooking liquid to a bowl. Add the flour and stir until smooth to create a smooth past. Slowly add it to the hot cooking liquid, bring to a slow simmer and cook until thickened.
- Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove toothpicks and serve over polenta with additional grated cheese if desired.