What is Braciole in Italian Terms?
Braciole, pronounced bra’zhul, is a warm, hearty dish that originates from Italy. Braciole with egg is a variant of the classic braciole but is a typical Italian family favorite.
The dish consists of a thin, tenderized piece of meat. This meat is then wrapped around breadcrumbs, prosciutto, cheese, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs. The rolled-up bites of goodness are then simmered gently in tomato sauce for hours until tender.
Braciole is a fantastic dish to make on chilly Sunday night dinners when the whole family is around. It is also perfect for meal prepping to have lots of leftovers. Braciole is a recipe that spreads through generations and is commonly known as the go-to warm winter meal.
Braciole has many different variants, including the classic Braciole Napoletana, Braciole with Egg, and Braciole with Swiss Chard. These recipes have evolved over time as family favorites are passed down generations. The dish is then altered for each family’s individual tastes to become three very different, flavourful dishes.
Sicily the Birthplace of Braciole
In Italy, a braciola is generally known as a cutlet. However, in the south of Italy and Sicily, a braciola is a slice of fish or meat rolled around a stuffing. Smaller-sized braciola can be known as braciulini and braciulittini. While this may all sound very confusing, the Sicilian braciola has become popular worldwide.
Braciola, braciulini, and braciulittini are all cooked similarly, despite their size. The most common cooking method was to take these rolled meats and braise them in tomato salsa. The small meat rolls are typically braised for 3-4 hours until tender and full of flavor.
Sicily is the birthplace of the farsumagru, a large, stuffed beef roll. Farsumagru is essentially a large braciola cooked in a tomato salsa and sliced. The farsumagru and braciola likely originated around similar times.
In the rest of Italy, slices of meat or fish around a filling are more commonly known as an involtini. These are typically made with veal and stuffed with cheese, ham, and sage. These are then fried in a bit of butter or oil and deglazed with white wine.
Braciole has since spread across the globe as a warm, hearty winter dish loved by many. But, as with any recipe, it has evolved over time.
How to Make Italian Braciole With Egg at Home
Prep time: 30-35 minutes
Cooking time: 3.5-4 hours
Total time: 4.5-5 hours
- Toothpicks or butchers twine
- Mallet or meat tenderizer
- Large sharp knife
- Chopping board
- 2 x medium-sized bowls
- Large saucepan with lid
- Wooden spoon
- Serving platter
- 1.5 pounds of beef (top round or flank steak)
- ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese or grated aged provolone cheese
- 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- ½ cup pignolis
- 1 hard-boiled egg for each roll
- 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups classic marinara sauce
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Toothpicks or butcher’s twine to secure the rolls
- Use a mallet or something heavy to pound the meat into thin slices. Tenderise the beef with the tenderizer side of the mallet.
- Cut the meat into 5-6” slices.
- Rub each slice with olive oil.
- In a separate bowl, combine chopped parsley, pignolis, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Lay out each slice of meat and sprinkle the mixture generously over the beef.
- Place a hard-boiled egg on top of each meat slice.
- Begin rolling starting from the end with the egg.
- Secure the roll with a toothpick or string.
- Heat a saucepan on medium-high heat.
- Brown the rolls in olive oil, cooking for approximately 6 minutes.
- Add dry white wine to the pan bringing it to a boil.
- Stir in the marinara sauce.
- Cover partially and simmer until the meat is tender, turning the braciole and basting in sauce every 30 minutes.
- After 2 hours, uncover the pan completely and continue cooking until the meat is tender for another 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into thick slices.
- Transfer to a large serving platter or on top of pasta. Spoon over sauce generously.
Per serving (6 servings)
- Calories: 262
- Total fat: 13.1g (6g saturated fat)
- Cholesterol: 78.2mg
- Sodium: 978.9mg
- Total carbohydrates: 15.4g
- Sugars: 5.2g
- Protein: 21.3g
The Two Main Ways of Making Braciole
There are many ways to make braciole which is why it is so popular. In addition, many Italian families have modified recipes to suit their own tastes. However, these are the two most common ways of making braciole.
Firstly, there is Braciole Napoletana mentioned above. This is stuffed with breadcrumbs, grated cheese, pignolis, and sometimes a hardboiled egg. Alternatively, there is Braciole stuffed with swiss chard. Braciole stuffed with swiss chard leads to a sweet and savory dish.
Swiss chard is sweeter than most greens and quite tender when the stalks and spines are removed. Therefore, only tender leaves are used in the recipe. The dish is also enhanced and complemented by including other Sicilian favorites such as pignolis, raisins, and pecorino cheese. The method remains the same, but the taste is exquisitely different.
It is understandable why braciole is loved by many. The recipes are easily modified, and herbs, cheeses, and even meats can be used.
Braciole will easily become a family favorite for cold winter nights or a hearty Sunday dinner. Try the classic Braciole Napoletana or the Braciole With Egg. If you’re feeling adventurous, the braciole with swiss chard may be the go. Or get creative and make your own version of braciole.
Braciole is full of flavor and can be modified to suit any taste. While it does take some time to cook, the final dish is worth it. The dish is also easily stored and can be a perfect meal prep for the winter.