Braciole

“Why even imagine a mystical experience, when we are born into one, submerged in one, day after day?”  Marilynne Robinson

Currently reading Anatole Broyard’s Intoxicated By My Illness which says, essentially, the very same thing. The reason to live is all around us. Very often, it is what is for dinner. Nice to be cooking my own meals again (and walking most everywhere WITHOUT 30 pounds on my back). Image

Braciole

Adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine

Ingredients

1 2-pound flank steak, trimmed

10 garlic cloves, sliced thin

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup golden raisins, chopped coarse

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

½ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

Instructions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Position steak on cutting board so long edge is parallel to counter edge. Cover with plastic wrap and pound to even ½-inch thickness. Trim any ragged edges to create rough rectangle about 11×9 inches. Pat steak dry with paper towels. Image

Combine garlic and oil in bowl and microwave until fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly, then remove garlic from oil with fork. Separately reserve garlic and garlic oil. Combine raisins, Parmesan, ¼ cup basil, parsley, half of garlic, ½ teaspoon oregano and ¼ teaspoon pepper flakes in bowl.

Brush exposed side of steak with 1 tablespoon garlic oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread raisin mixture evenly over steak, pressing to adhere, leaving 1-inch border along top edge. Starting from bottom edge and rolling away from you, roll steak into a tight log, finally resting seam side down. Tie kitchen twine around braciole at 1-inch intervals. Image

Heat 1 tablespoon garlic oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add braciole, seam side down, and cook until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to 13×9 cooking dish.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion, remaining garlic oil, remaining ½ teaspoon oregano and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper flakes to now-empty skillet. Cook until onion just begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and remaining half of garlic and cook until fragrant and tomato paste is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, bring to simmer and pour sauce over braciole.

Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until fork slips easily in and out of braciole, 1½ to 1¾ hours.

Transfer baking dish to wire rack, spoon sauce over braciole, re-cover and let rest in sauce for 30 minutes.

Transfer braciole to carving board, seams side down; cut and discard twine, and cut into ¾-inch -thick slices. Stir remaining ¼ cup basil into sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle 2 cups sauce onto serving platter. Transfer braciole slices to platter. Serve, passing remaining sauce and extra Parmesan separately. Image

This was heavenly. KP did an extraordinary amount of the work required in this recipe. Which was, admittedly, a lot.

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