Braciole. Sunday dinner Italian comfort food.

Braciole. Sunday dinner Italian comfort food.

I have become a decided fan of rolling things up in a flattened piece of meat. I started out with rolling up a flattened chicken breast that had been spread with a layer of cream cheese mixed with pesto. Those, fried or roasted, chilled and sliced, make great luncheon fare, particularly when served with slices of tomato and a generous squiggle of balsamic glaze.

Then I graduated to rouladen, round steak pounded thin, wrapped around a bratwurst and a kosher dill pickle spear. Those get sauteed and then simmered in red wine or beer. Cured meat products are a whole different animal; bacon-wrapped dates or chicken tenders; proscuitto wrapped melon or asparagus spears; ham tucked around potato wedges.

And then there’s braciole, the Italian version of the roulade. It probably has as many iterations as there are cooks who make it, but at its heart, it’s a flattened piece of round or sirloin steak, topped with a filling, rolled and tied, browned and then braised in a marinara sauce. And it’s just pure comfort food.

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Dinner report

February 27, 2010

Not to get too complex about the whole thing, but, Yum.

Petit Jean Farms free-range, grass-fed beef is SO worth four bucks a pound.

Here you see a cross between meatballs and slider patties; i.e., a meatball flattened out a little, seared on both sides, and then simmered for an hour in a lovely, rich marinara sauce, spooned over orzo, with a side of coriander roasted carrots.

Oh. My. God. This was so good I forgot to add the parmegiano I’d just grated, but it didn’t matter.

And when you consider that pound of ground beef, by the time you add a half-cup of cracker crumbs and an egg to it, made enough meatball/sliders for four, y’know, that ain’t no ┬ábad deal. Not at all. But the meat just defies description. I don’t think I’ll ever buy grocery ground beef again.

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