My family doesn’t care for the seven fishes…so I typically make a sauce, a pasta, some vegetable, and serve with our favorite Chianti. If you want a great seven fishes dinner, go to this link to my cousin Jimmy’s Cafe Capriccio website for a great seven fishes dinner! Link to Seven Fishes Recipe
This year I decided to make beef and pork bracsiole.
You can purchase your bracsiole from your local butcher but it’s fun to make if you have the time. Purchase a 2 lb. pork loin and 2 packages of thinly sliced sirloin. You’ll need to pound out each cut, so have a butcher block of some sort at hand and a kitchen mallet or old cast iron iron (that works the best!).
To prep the pork, I’ll assume your pork loin is approx. 5″ long by 3″ thick. Slice the pork in half length-wise creating two 2 1/2″ thick slices. Next take each half and butterfly leaving approx. 1/2″ at the end of the butterfly. Pound each butterflied piece out and you should have a nice 9-10″ long piece of pork fillet.
To prep the serloin, I’ll assume your beef is approx. 1/2″ thick. Simply pound the sirloin out to make it a little longer and wider. Beef will only pound out so much, so you should know when you’ve gotten the sirloin to its maximum thinness.
Next, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Butcher’s twine.
- One small package of prosciutto. You should have one piece for each fillet. You can cut the prosciutto in half length-wise if you need more. It is a small part of the flavor and you don’t need to cover the entire filet with a piece of prosciutto!
- 1/3 lb. of grated pecorino romano cheese or parmigiana cheese. I prefer the former.
- Pignoli nuts or walnuts. One-half cup should do. In a hot pan, toast the nuts. Don’t allow them to burn. Use a low heat, and watch your nuts! They begin to toast pretty quickly! After, toasting the nuts, if you have a small cuisinart chopper/mixer, chop the nuts. You can almost as easily chop the nuts with a good french chef’s knife. Set the nuts aside.
- Pick up one bunch of fresh parsley. Similarly chop the parsley. Set aside.
- Clean 3 cloves of garlic (more/less to suit your taste…but a little more usually won’t hurt since this will cook for a long time and add flavor to your sauce.) Similary chop. Set aside.
Making the bracsiole:
- Start with one piece of your prosciutto. Place this in the center of your fillet.
- Lay one fillet out on your prep surface. Sprinkle some of the nut mixture, over your first fillet, add a little of your cheese, some garlic, and a generous helping of the parsley. Salt and pepper to your taste.
- Now, roll the filet that you have prepped from top to bottom, creating a long log. Using your butcher’s twine, tie your brasciole. I find that it’s easier to cut five or six pieces of twine beforehand and tie each one separately. This makes it easier for me to cut the brasciole into my desired sizes when I’m finished. I like a 3-4″ brasciole.
Cooking your bracsiole:
- I use a pot large enough for the amount of sauce I’m making. In this case, with about 4 lbs of meat, I’ll use 3 cans of san marzano tomatoes and one can of paste. This is a lot of sauce…enough for a party of 12. Scale back the recipe as necessary.
- In your pot, add 2 tablespoons of your favorite olive oil. Heat to medium temperature and add your bracsiole. Brown your bracsiole and remove from your pot.
- Add 1/2-1 cup of whatever red wine you have at hand. Make sure it’s room temperature. This will allow you to de-glaze your pot and provide some very tasty meat remnants for your sauce. I use a wooden spatula to loosen up any meat that might have adhered to the bottom of my pot.
- If you have sufficient liquid in your pot, add one finely chopped onion and saute until it is translucent or tender.
- Add your small can of tomato paste and mix thoroughly with the mixture in your pot.
- Add your two cans of san marzano tomatoes. (As we’ve previously discussed, I like to de-vane my tomatoes…simply take each tomato and peal away the fleshy parts and throw away the core, stringly vein that is usually a yellow color. Some use the can of tomatoes as is…but removing the veins makes for a cleaner sauce.)
- Now, add your browned bracsiole.
- (I like to add a pound and 1/2 of Italian sausage to my sauce also. If you want to add sausage, try cooking the sausage in your oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. This can be done as you are prepping your bracsiole. TIP- From a flavor point of view, you can eliminate the pork bracsiole and simply use the pork sausage. If you choose this strategy, use 2 1/2 lbs of Italian sausage and no pork loin. )
- Simmer your sauce uncovered for as long as you have! A minimum of 2 hours is recommended. I like to try to maintain the level of my sauce at the beginning. In other words, as you simmer your sauce, it will condense down. To offset this loss of liquid, simply add water gradually through the simmering process. Don’t be afraid of watering down the sauce, just try to maintain a level perhaps 1/2″ lower than the highest level of sauce on the inside of your pot and you’ll be fine…for a little thicker sauce, allow your sauce to condense a little more without adding as much water.)
Serve over your favorite pasta or ravioli with the remainder of the grated cheese for a truly delicious family dinner!
I served this sauce over some store-bought tagliatelle from my favorite Italian import market…Genoa Imports, just down from Siena College on Route 9 in Albany. Our vegetable was green beans in truffle oil. (Steam your beans, add salt, pepper, and your best truffle oil. Allow to marinate in the truffle oil for several hours covered and serve at room temperature.)