Sicilian Beef Braciole with Pecorino and Pine Nuts
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ small yellow onion, minced
4 basil leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 27-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 cup fresh day old breadcrumbs
1/3 cup young pecorino cheese- finely grated
1/3 cup caciocavallo cheese- finely grated
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons sultana raisins
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
8 slices of very thin beef for braciole, beef rump, bottom round or top round, pounded
4 very thin slices of mortadella or prosciutto
Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic cloves and cook, turning, until golden, 1 minute. Remove the garlic and discard. Add the onions and cook until soft 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, ¾ cup water. Season with salt and pepper, add the basil (optional) and simmer slowly for 1 hour.
For the filling, place the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl and add the pecorino, caciocavallo pine nuts, raisins, garlic and parsley. Toss together and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the mixture while tossing with 2 tablespoons of the remaining extra virgin olive oil and toss.
Lay out one slice of beef. If the beef is not very thin, pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until very thin. Trim a slice of mortadella to fit beef, leaving about 1/2 inch around all sides. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling on top of the mortadella. Be careful not to overdo it with the filling. Fold in the sides of the beef slice. Tuck in the end nearest you and roll up the slice. Secure with a toothpick or string. Repeat for remaining slices.
Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is rippling, brown the beef rolls on each side – roughly 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan once browned. Cover the rolls with tomato sauce and simmer for 1 ¼ hours until the rolls are cooked.
To serve, remove the toothpicks or string and serve hot passed with pecorino.
As an alternative you can also finish them with lemon instead of tomato sauce.
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly ground breadcrumbs
Lemon wedges as a garnish
Lightly beat 2 eggs in a medium sized bowl. Place 1 cup breadcrumbs in another bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the beef rolls first in the egg, then in the breadcrumb, making sure all surfaces are breaded.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is rippling, cook the rolls, turning occasionally until golden. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook the rolls until cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pan. Remove the toothpicks or string and serve hot garnished with lemon wedges.