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Braciole, Meat Rolls & Involtini Recipe

In the U.S., Italian braciole (singular braciola) is another name for stuffed beef rolls, usually cooked in a tomato sauce and served over pasta. In many Italian-American families,†braciole is a traditional main dish prepared in special occasions.

However, when in Italy donít ask for braciole unless you really want to have some chops. Meat rolls here are in fact called involtini, while braciole is the name used for chops or any slice of meat, either pork or beef, grilled or roasted over live coals, or brace, from which the name. Why this difference?

Because only in a few parts of southern Italy the word braciole can also indicate thinly sliced meat rolled around different kinds of stuffing and then slowly cooked in tomato sauce. Thatís why, among both the Italian communities of U.S. and Australia, traditionally with strong roots in Southern Italy, braciole are known as beef rolls.

And here is my recipe for involtini of beef rolls, aka braciole.

Ingredients and Instructions (serves 4):

  1. Pound the meat, until about ľ inch thin, then cut into 8 serving size pieces.

  2. Mix together the parsley, cheese, salt and pepper and the minced garlic.

  3. Spread each piece of meat with the mixture and top with Ĺ slice of provolone cheese.

  4. Roll up each slice and secure with a toothpick.

  5. In a large pan, over medium fire, heat the olive oil then cook the rolls in it until nice and brown all over.

  6. Add the wine, let it simmer to reduce it a bit and then add the crushed tomatoes to the pan with one cup of water.

  7. Stir in the oregano, a good pinch of salt and pepper, cover, reduce the heat to low and let gently simmer the rolls for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces and thickens.

  8. Serve the meat rolls warm, alone or over pasta.

If you want to serve these beef rolls the Italian way, do it this way:
  1. First use just the sauce to toss some pasta in it and serve only that as a first course, in small portions topped with Parmigiano cheese.

  2. Serve then the rolls as a second course with a side of vegetables or a green salad. Buon appetito!

Cinzia Aversa, 2014

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