Braciole – an Italian dish of flank steak stuffed with broccoli rabe (rapini). Make this one on a Sunday when you’ve got some time and possibly some company! This recipe is scaled for two whole flank steaks, which will weigh about 1 to 1.5 pounds each, so you can get anywhere from 4 to 6 servings out of this.
- 2 bunches of broccoli rabe (rapini)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the broccoli rabe and let simmer for 3 minutes. I used a 4-qt saucepan with about 2-qts of water. Drain and then rinse in cold water until the broccoli rabe is about room temperature. Squeeze out the excess water with your hands or use a salad spinner to remove as much water as possible. Blanching your broccoli rabe this way will tame some of the bitterness.
- 2 beef flank steaks (1 to 1.5 pounds each)
- 4oz thin sliced prociuitto, which you will chop into small pieces.
- 1/4c or more of each: pistachios (roasted and shelled), pine nuts (pignoli), and golden raisins.
Mix the broccoli rabe with the nuts and raisins, and season with salt, pepper, and optionally some red pepper flakes to taste.
Lay out your steaks, season them with kosher salt and pepper, lay on the filling, roll up and tie. I suppose I should have some video here on how to truss these things… wait, youtube and Alton to the rescue… fast forward to 8:50: Good Eats – Fit to be Tied
Some people would tell you to pound the steaks to flatten them, or even try to butterfly them to make them larger. I say leave them the way they are – there is no reason to go for a pinwheel (“roulade”) effect, you just need to be able to get the edges to match up so your filling doesn’t fall out. You should have something looking like this:
Next up – a hot pan!! Any big heavy skillet or dutch oven will work, add about 2T of oil, heat the pan on med-high till the oil starts to shimmer and smoke, then add your bracioles, turning every minute or two till nicely browned all around:
- A big pile of sliced onions – about 2 or 3 large yellow onions
- 3-4 cloves of garlic – crushed and/or chopped
- 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes – I like Cento Italian-style. I definitely recommend a whole canned plum tomato versus crushed, but whatever you’ve got or like will work. If you use whole tomatoes, just dump them into a large bowl and crush with your fingers.
Now you need to be using a large heavy dutch-oven that will fit all your sauce and meat. Saute the onions on medium heat in about 2T olive oil till softened and starting to brown, then add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds:
Now add your tomatoes and perhaps some red wine if you have an open bottle and are feeling frisky. Bring all this goodness to a simmer, then nestle your bracioles in there nice and snug, pop on a lid, and stick it in the oven for about 1.5 hours. Test for done-ness with a fork – the meat should be very tender and the fork should slide in easily. Give things a good rest for 20min or so uncovered, then serve!
Bonus serving suggestion!!
Spaghetti squash is super easy and delicious – cut one in half, remove the seeds, and pop one half in the microwave face-down on a plate. Nuke it for anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes depending on size, microwave power, and how crispy or soft you like your squash. The outside of the squash should be somewhat soft but not mushy. (it will be crazy hot so watch your fingers). Now remove the plate and let the squash sit for another 5 to 10 min before flipping it over and using a fork to separate the strands.