Cooking with Gram

I have a great family. They’re pretty awesome. And quite a few of them are pretty awesome cooks/bakers. And way more awesome than me. Which works out, because they can teach me how to make all kinds of delicious things. Like Braciole, for instance. You can use a lot of things to add flavor to pasta sauce, but to me, my Grandma does it best with lots of meat. So vegetarians beware, today I learned how to make…

Flo’s Braciole with Pasta Sauce

I was surprised how easy this was to make. Almost all of the cooking time is unattended and the end result is so impressive and yummy. The ingredients are simple so the fresh herbs really add a lot here. Stay away from dried basil and parsley if you can.

1 pound country style ribs, with or without the bone (optional)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound flank steak, ask your butcher to butterfly it–you want it thin
4 heaping teaspoons grated parmesan
4 teaspoons breadcrumbs
1/4 onion, sliced very thin & chopped into 1” long pieces
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 handful fresh basil
Round toothpicks

To make the Braciole, you need the flank steak to be very thin. So even after having the butcher butterfly it, pound the steak with a meat tenderizer to get it about a 1/4″ thick. You can also use round steak, but my Gram recommends the flank–more flavor.

Once you have the steak nice and thin, cut it into 3-4″ wide strips. You can get 3-4 pieces with 1 pound of meat.

In the middle of each piece, layer 1 heaping tsp of cheese, 1 tsp bread crumbs, a few slivers of onion, and a sprig of parsley. It will look something like this…

Pretty! Then, pushing the filling into the meat, begin tightly rolling the steak and secure with two toothpicks. Repeat with the other pieces of meat until they’re all rolled. Put aside.

If you’re using the ribs in your sauce, place in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with the olive oil and garlic. Brown over medium heat, turning once. Then remove from pot.

Place the rolled steak pieces in the hot pot and cook, turning occasionally, until brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Add the ribs back into the pot along with the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and basil. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, 3-4 hours. Make sure to stir the sauce every once in awhile, careful not to break your braciole. Spend that 3-4 hours watching a Cubs game with your family or listening to sweet stories about your Great Grandpa Ben.

Enjoy with your favorite pasta, sprinkled with more grated parm.


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One Response to “Cooking with Gram”

  1. Darlene Says:

    Love, love, love Braciole! Haven’t added them to my gravy in ages. I like to add pork neck bones to the gravy. Just salt and pepper them..than brown them off in olive oil and add them to the sauce. You can remove them at the end. They also give a nice flavor to the gravy. I add the pork necks when I just make the gravy with meatballs…it’s quick and adds a layer of flavor to the gravy.

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