Beef Braciole with Meat Sauce Recipe

Growing up in a family with Italian immigrant roots meant that gathering around the table  for a big meal was a pretty regular occurrence.  Whether it was my dad’s famous lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, or any other number of Italian dishes,  preparing for this family gathering meant the whole house would first be filled with the intoxicating smell of Sunday  tomato sauce or “gravy”  that simmered away on the stove for hours and hours.

I remember sneaking into the kitchen throughout the day, where I would tear off a little piece of bread and dunk it into the large pot of warm sauce. It was my way of testing the sauce’s progress, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think I was the only one in the house  who did this. I think we all found ourselves wandering in and out of the kitchen; it was just too hard to resist.

One of my favorites from  these family dinner gatherings is Braciole (pronounced bra’zhul).  You might even call it a roulade, or involtini, depending on where you are from.  Braciole  is a southern Italian dish, with many variations, based upon the family that is cooking.  For most, flank steak is  pounded thin, stuffed with a pesto like filling, rolled, tied and simmered in sauce until fall apart tender.

I have enjoyed braciole made a million different ways, but always seem come back to the way my family makes it. Maybe because of the flavor, but maybe too, because of the familiarity and comfort it brings.

I  love to serve this entree as part of a family style Italian themed dinner party with friends.

I find it’s casual entertaining like this, that  conjeur ups old family memories and laughter around the table. It’s also a great way to discover new recipes, especially if you have your guests share in the food prep, bringing with them a favorite dish from their family cookbooks.

If you take advantage of the make-ahead steps in this recipe, and  prepare the Braciole 1 day ahead, you will  simply need to reheat before serving, ensuring you will be free to relax and have fun with your friends!

Have a look~

You will begin by preparing the sauce (see recipe below).

Next, you will make a pesto filling

Pound flank steak thin, then spread with the pesto filling

Roll up jelly-roll style, tie with butcher’s twine, then slice into 3-inch-thick slices

Brown the little bundles on both sides

Into the pot with sauce they go, and simmer away until melt in your mouth tender

Braciole with Meat Sauce

Serve the Braciole with a side of polenta, pasta, or potatoes.

Meat sauce:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 country style bone-in pork ribs

2 (28-ounce) cans diced plum tomatoes

½ cup fresh basil leaves

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork ribs, sprinkle with salt, and brown on both sides. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and basil to a blender. Pulse to puree. Add pureed tomato mixture to pork. Simmer 2 hours, covered. Remove pork ribs from sauce. Shred the pork, discarding the bones. Mix shredded pork into sauce.


3 pounds ½-inch-thick flank steak

1 cup Romano cheese

¼ cup minced garlic

1 cup golden raisins

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup chopped Italian parsley

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Butcher’s twine

Pound flank steak with mallet or heavy pan to ¼-inch-thickness. Trim off any fat. Season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, pulse the cheese, garlic, raisins, pine nuts, and parsley to form a coarse paste. Spread paste evenly over flank steak. Starting at one long end, roll meat up jelly roll style and tie with butcher’s twine in 2-inch intervals to secure.  Slice into 3-inch-thick slices.

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add braciole slice to oil and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add meat sauce to pan, cover, and simmer over very low heat for 3 hours.

8 servings


11 thoughts on “Beef Braciole with Meat Sauce Recipe”

  1. This is quite the different version of braciole, looks very pretty! I have an Uncle that his wife’s family only made meatballs and braciole this way, every time he comes he doenst eat them our way, (which is my late mom’s his sister’s recipe) Interesting to find this as I have never heard of anyone eating them with raisins till here… am booking marking, if and when he comes this will be on my table next time thanks so much for posting…I had no idea how to make these! Gorgeous presentation!

  2. Debi, I’m doing a little happy dance right now. Last week, I was at my eye doctor’s office and we were talking food. He was describing this very dish, a favorite of his – he grew up in a family of Sicilian immigrant fisherman here in San Francisco! But with his pronunciation, I wasn’t sure of the spelling. I googled and googled and could not find it, now here it is, staring me in the face! The only difference in his family’s version is that they use the same meat sauce as the filling, instead of the pesto. I can NOT wait to try it, thank you!

  3. OMG! my Nonna’s recipe,she was from Naples…I wanted to make this tonight…remembered the golden raisins forgot to get the pine nuts…have to wait til tomorrow…thanks for the memory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.