Braciole

This has got to be the easiest recipe ever – if you have a good Italian butcher nearby. Ottomanelli’s in the West Village sells braciole at $5.99 a pound. It’s flank steak (or other cheap cuts) pounded, stuffed, rolled and tied with string. The stuffing is up to you or your butcher. Ottomanelli uses tiny chunks of garlic, flat parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper. No breadcrumbs or cheese in this braciole! Brown it in a hot pan with olive oil, then braise it. We used San Marzano tomatoes, chopped up in their juice, and extended with water, plus some freshly grated nutmeg, and a mixture of freshly cracked black peppercorns and allspice berries, and some 2006 Rully. This particular mixture was maybe a bit too much on the sweet side – next time we will go heavier on the tomatoes.

Important – remove the braciole when they are done! You want them just moist in the center. Then cook down the tomato sauce, now flavored by the meat, to about half, and drizzle over the braciole. Chris Lombardi serves spaghetti as well. Fantastic with more of the Rully (‘En Guesnes’ 2006 from Vincent Dureiul-Janthial).

(Note: this is an Italian-American dish, pronounced “brazh-ol” from Sicilian dialect. Singular is braciola. In Italy this would be called involtini and probably prepared differently.)