When I was a child, in my house in Apulia, Sunday wasn’t a respectable Sunday without a succulent dish of pasta al ragù di brasciole. Despite the name the pasta sauce does not contain the brasciole (the meat roll-ups); these are served separately after the pasta (as a secondo piatto in Italian), always accompanied by some good wine, like the well known Salice Salentino or Negroamaro (which at the time I was of course not allowed to drink :))
Thanks to Fabio, a long time friend, for giving us advices about this brasciole dish.
INGREDIENTS for 4 servings:
16 beef or calf thin slices (the best cut is the diaphragm or thick flank)
∼ 100 gr flakes of parmigiano cheese
∼ 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
a handful chopped parsley
salt and pepper
For the tomato sauce
∼ 700 gr of Tomato Passata
one small onion, finely chopped
1/2 glass of white wine
extra virgin olive oil
Remove any nerves or skin from the slices of meat, then beat them lightly. Lay them out on a work surface and scatter salt and pepper. Sprinkle each slice evenly with cheese flakes, garlic and parsley (see the picture below). To make sure that the filling won’t fall out, before rolling them up, fold the left ad the right sides to obtain packets of meat. Starting from the narrower side, roll-up the slices and fasten with a toothpick.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pot, add extra vergine olive oil and let it warm. Add the chopped onion, let it sauté for a few minutes, until it’s soft and translucent. On a medium heat, add the braciole, and let them brown on all sides. Pour white wine and let it evaporate.
Then pour the Tomato Passata in the pot and let cook on low heat for around 2 hours, until the meat is tender and the sauce becomes dark, shiny and thick.
During cooking, check the sauce. If it tastes too tart add a pinch of sugar (as nonna recommends) or, if it is too thick, add a bit of water.
When the dish is ready, you can decide to season a dish of pasta with the tomato sauce or eat the meat roll-ups like a second course. Otherwise, you can eat the meat and the sauce accompanied by slices of fragrant bread.