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What is Braciole?

Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cooks looking for a simple, easy-to-prepare side dish for their Italian meal will delight in braciole. Essentially flank steak rolled up and pan-fried, then served in tomato sauce, braciole can be served alone on top of pasta or along with other side-dish meats, such as meatballs or sausage. While it is typically served as a side dish, braciole can also find a home inside a fresh roll or bread to make a hearty sandwich. This is one of the easiest Italian dishes to prepare and can add an abundance of flavor to an otherwise boring pasta dish.

Braciole can be prepared in several different ways, but the simplest way to make this tasty side dish involves little more than pounding portions of flank steak to about ¼ inch (0.6 cm) thick, tying them into rolls, then pan-frying them in their own juices or a small amount of olive oil. To complete the dish, serve the braciole in homemade tomato sauce alone or with other meat sides such as meatballs and/or sausage. The braciole adds flavor to the sauce itself, making it perfect for an addition to pasta dishes.

Other recipes call for a few more steps that can add more flavor and zest to the braciole. After brushing the pounded flank steak with olive oil, try stuffing it with a combination of cheese -– parmesan is a good choice –- bread crumbs, herbs, garlic and egg. Roll the steak and tie it, then pan-sear until the braciole is browned on all sides. Then add the braciole to 3-5 cups of tomato sauce and place in an oven to bake for about a half hour. This will produce tender, flavorful braciole as well as a delicious sauce perfect for pasta, sandwiches, or simply dunking bread.

Spices for this recipe include garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary, and oregano. Add the spices to taste, and feel free to experiment with your own spice choices. The dish is called braciole, which is the plural form of braciola, because typically the dish is served with four to five braciole, or according to the number of diners at the table. Instead of serving it as a side dish to a main plate, braciole can also be served alongside a salad as a small lunch meal.

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