This sauce is traditionally simmered
for hours, until a finger's width of oil floats on top, Lidia writes. Typically
that oil was then reincorporated into the sauce. In true Italian family style,
pass platters of the meat with some sauce spooned over them, and bowls of pasta
dressed with the sauce.
This recipe is from Lidia's newest book.
Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen
Lidia's Italian-American Sunday Sauce with Bracioli and
For the braciole:
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups cubed (1/2 inch) day-old Italian bread
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
2 pounds beef bottom round, cut into 12 slices, each 1/2-inch thick
12 slices (about 6 ounces) imported Italian prosciutto
1/4 pound imported provola or provolone cheese, cut into 1/4- by 1/4- by 2-inch
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions (about 8 ounces), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 (35-ounce) cans crushed Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 bay leaves
Water, as needed
Salt, to taste
Crushed hot red pepper, to taste
2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 pounds rigatoni
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For the braciole: Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the bread cubes, and let
soak until the bread is very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the bread, squeeze
out the excess milk from the cubes with your hands, and return it to the bowl.
Stir in the chopped eggs, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, raisins, pine nuts and
garlic to create a stuffing. Mix well and set aside.
With the toothed side of a heavy meat mallet, pound each slice of beef into a
thickness of about 1/4 inch. Arrange one of the pounded meat slices in front of
you with one of the short sides closest to you. Top with a slice of prosciutto,
and tap the prosciutto with the back side of a knife so it adheres to the beef.
Spread 2 tablespoons of the stuffing along the edge of the meat closest to you,
leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place a stick of provolone over the stuffing. Fold
the border over the provolone, then fold the side borders in to overlap the
edges of the stuffing. Roll into a compact roll about 4 inches long. Secure the
end flap with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining beef and stuffing, then
season the rolls with salt and pepper.
To brown the braciole, heat olive oil in a large heavy casserole over medium
heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is wilted, about 5
minutes. Add as many of the braciole as will fit in a single layer and cook,
turning as necessary, until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes. If necessary,
repeat with any remaining braciole. Adjust the heat under the pan as necessary
to prevent the beef from scorching.
For the sauce: Empty the tomatoes into a bowl and squeeze with your hands until
coarsely crushed, removing the cores as you do.
If necessary, return all the braciole to the casserole. Pour the wine into the
casserole, bring to a boil and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Stir
in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and bay leaves and stir
until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper,
adjust the heat to simmering, and cook, adding water as necessary to keep the
braciole completely submerged until the beef is tender, about 3 hours.
After the braciole have been simmering in the sauce for about 11/2 hours, add 2
pounds hot or sweet Italian sausages, poked all over with a fork and browned.
For the meatballs: Crumble pork and beef into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the bread
crumbs, 1/3 cup grated cheese, parsley and garlic over the meat. Beat the egg
with salt and pepper in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the meat mixture.
Mix the ingredients with clean hands just until evenly blended. Don't overmix.
Shape the meat mixture into 11/2-inch balls.
Dredge the meatballs in the flour until lightly but evenly coated. Heat 1/4 cup
olive oil and the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Slip
as many meatballs into the skillet as will fit without overcrowding. Fry,
turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Adjust
the heat as the meatballs cook to prevent them from overbrowning, and add them
to the pot after the braciole have been simmering for 2 hours.
When the meats are cooked, transfer them to platters, spoon a little sauce over
them, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Cook rigatoni according to package directions, drain well and return to the
cooking pot. Add enough of the sauce to coat the rigatoni lightly, season with
Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, and transfer the sauced pasta to
a large platter. Pass any remaining sauce and some grated cheese separately.
Remove the toothpicks before serving. The braciole can be prepared up to two
days in advance, then reheated over low heat until warmed through.
Makes 12 servings