Stuffed beef rolls, or braciole, is a dish my sweetie loves—or at least, he’s always telling me about how well a (now ex-) mother-in-law used to make it. So it’s long been something on my mind to try to make one of these days, and I even have had some nice thin-cut beef round steaks in my freezer ready to use when the mood struck. Yesterday, with a snowstorm predicted to be on the way and I was content to stay at home all afternoon, seemed like a perfect opportunity to give it a try. (It also didn’t hurt that while I was away for a week, my sweetie had gone crazy buying mozzarella on sale that needed to be used up quickly. And winter isn’t exactly the best time of year to make my usual favorite of Caprese salad…
I looked at some traditional recipes at first but didn’t find anything that completely matched the ingredients I had on hand. In fact, the most appealing (and easiest) recipe was one I found on the FineCooking website for Braised Beef Braciola Stuffed with Basil and Mozzarella. The recipe called for flank steak as a substitute for beef round, so I figured why not use the “real thing”? I did not have fresh basil on hand so I used some Italian flat leaf parsley and a bit of pesto I had in my fridge as a substitute in the stuffing. Instead of button muchrooms I used Baby Bellas, which I always prefer anyway for a richer flavor, especially in Italian recipes.
It was reasonably easy to put the dish together and I cooked it for a full two hours until the sauce was really delicious and the meat very tender. After taking the meat out to rest I quickly cooked up some fresh pasta I’d made earlier with my pasta extruder, and mixed that in with the sauce to serve alongside the meat.
For a little lighter freshness, I also steamed some really nice tender, young string beans and just tossed them with a little butter and salt.
All in all it was a really delicious, hearty meal perfect for a cold winter night—especially with the rest of that bottle of Chianti I’d opened to use in the sauce! I still want to try some other ways of preparing braciola, or to do a real “Sunday Gravy” dinner complete with sausages and meatballs, but this wasn’t a bad start!