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An Italian Buffet

By Cheryl Forberg, RD
Image of Italian Beef Rolls in Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce (Braciole di Manzo)
This month I planned a make-ahead menu that I could prepare for about 16 people. I wanted an Italian/Sicilian theme for my husband's relatives who would be joining us. Antipasti, focaccia, caponata – check, check, check - these were all things I could make ahead. Entrée-wise, I really wanted to roast chickens, but that's always best straight from the oven. Instead, I opted for a classic Italian dish called Braciole or Involtini. In most of Italy, involtini refers to thin slices of meat (beef or veal) or fish fillets wrapped around a stuffing, and then baked or braised in a sauce. In the south of Italy and in Sicily, braciola (singular) is the more common term that refers to a slice of fish or meat rolled around a stuffing (braciole is plural) and it's usually cooked in a tomato sauce.

Flank steak, top or bottom round are good choices of beef to use. Ask the butcher to slice it thin, and if need be, you can pound it thinner with a meat tenderizer. This recipe is pretty flexible ingredient wise. If you don't have fire-roasted tomatoes on hand, regular canned or fresh tomatoes can be used. If you prefer, you can use salami instead of prosciutto in the stuffing, or mozzarella instead of provolone. Use your own combo of herbs, too. Any way you slice this, I think you'll really like it. Serve with a fresh green vegetable such as broccolini and use your favorite pasta shape (I love orecchiette).

Italian Beef Rolls in Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce (Braciole di Manzo)
Serves: 6
Image of Ingredients Italian Beef Rolls in Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce (Braciole di Manzo)
Ingredients:
1¼ pound Beef Top Round cut into 6 thin slices, about ¼ inch thick
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Grapeseed or Olive Oil
6 slices Prosciutto Ham
3 slices Provolone Cheese, cut in half
Salt and Pepper

Filling:
¾ cup Fresh Breadcrumbs Soaked in 3 tablespoons Broth or Milk
3 tablespoons Pine Nuts, lightly toasted
3 tablespoons Dried Currants
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
2 teaspoons Dried Italian Seasoning

Sauce:
1 medium Red Onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
½ cup Dry Wine (Red, White or Rose - whatever's opened!)
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
2 teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped
¼ cup Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Broth

Instructions:

Filling:
Image of Combine all ingredients in a small bowl
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. There will be just over a cup.
Image of Lay the beef slices out on a cutting board
Lay the beef slices out on a cutting board. If they're not ¼ inch thin, carefully pound them thinner with a meat pounder/tenderizer. Season beef with salt and pepper. Place one slice prosciutto on each beef slice. Top each with a half slice of the provolone. Scoop about 3 tablespoons filling onto each cheese slice.
Image of Fold the edges of the beef in lengthwise
Fold the edges of the beef in lengthwise. Fold one of the ends and roll tightly. Secure each "bundle" with a toothpick or twine.
Image of Over medium high heat, heat the oil in a medium sauté pan
Over medium high heat, heat the oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the beef, seam side down. Carefully brown the beef on all sides. Transfer the rolls to a plate (seam side down) and set aside.

Sauce:
Image of Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until they're soft and tender about 5 minutes
Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until they're soft and tender about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce for about 5 minutes or until the wine has evaporated, stirring to loosen any browned bits.
Image of Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a boil
Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a boil. Add herbs, cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully place the beef bundles back in the pan. They should be submerged in sauce. If not, add just enough boiling broth or water to cover. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours (I prefer to do this in a Crockpot).

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over hot pasta.

Nutrient Analysis per serving (not including pasta):

Kcal 350
Total Fat 12g
Sat Fat 4g
Cholest 70mg
Sodium 440mg
Total Carb 20g
Fiber 2g
Sugars 9g
Protein 30g
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