Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Braciola Gorgonzola

Braciola Gorgonzola

Braciola ( plural is Braciole - pronounced "brajole") is an Italian-American speciality.  My recipe doesn't require expensive or fancy ingredients; no pine nuts and no prosciutto.  

It's beef, stuffed with a light mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs and cheese, braised in the oven and basted with a simple tomato sauce. The addition of the Gorgonzola cheese puts this dish over-the-top.  

Healthy Cook's  Note:  You might be surprised to learn that the Gorgonzola cheese adds ONLY 50 calories per serving.




The dish I prepared is enough for two people.  Make two or three rolls if you are feeding four or more.  This recipe is easy to double or triple.

I use a light mayonnaise in my stuffing, so I don't use oil to bind the breadcrumbs together.  I use a little cold water.  I find this works great.  The mayonnaise adds flavor and richness, and you don't need any extra oil other than what you use to brown the meat.

Top round steak is used as it's inexpensive.  Look for one that is thinly sliced; less pounding!  The only thing you have to remember is to continuously baste the meat once you take the foil off; a little "crusting" on the outside is normal.  If you don't baste the meat, it can get dry.  There are plently of Braciole recipes out there where the meat braises all day in sauce.  You can find one to your liking, I am sure if this one is not for you.

I selected a semi-dry white wine to make the sauce. I think the little bit of sweetness just adds something.  Anytime you "bake" tomato sauce, it gets very think and almost caramelized.  I like to use a splash or two at the end to thin it out a bit before serving. 

I also use granulated garlic and onion in this dish.  I prefer it as I believe it blends well into the stuffing and into the sauce. 

Note:  For drinking, I recommend an Italian jug wine, such as a Paisano.  A nice mint iced tea also does the trick.

Nothing fancy here; just great eats!

Ingredients:

3/4 - 1 pound Top Round Steak, pounded flat
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese

For the Stuffing: 
1/2 cup seasoned Breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan and Romano Cheese
2 tablespoons light Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Cold Water
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Other: 
Cooking Spray
2 tablespoons Olive Oil, for browning
Fresh Oregano and Basil for garnish (optional but suggested)

Simple Tomato Sauce:

15 ounces Tomato Sauce
2 teaspoons Garlic Salt
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1/2 tablespoon dried Oregano
Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Semi Dry White Wine, plus 2 tablespoons reserved

Note:  You will need butcher's twine to prepare this dish.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Add tomato sauce ingredients (except for the wine) to pan and stir.  Add to oven while preheating.

Pound meat to desired thickness.




Combine all stuffing ingredients.  Mix well until the texture becomes something like nut cookie dough (that's the best way I can describe it).  

Spread the stuffing mixture down the center of the meat.  Roll top to bottom and secure with butcher's twine.

Place the meat roll on top of the sauce.  Baste with some of the sauce and tent lightly with foil, being careful that the foil doesn't make contact with the tomato sauce.

Bake, covered, for 1 hour and 1/2.

Remove foil tent.  Add 1/4 of wine to the sauce.  Bake for 1/2 hour more, basting repeatedly.



Remove from oven and let meat rest for about 10 minutes.  Remove twine and slice into six rounds.



Top with Gorgonzola cheese and lay the rounds back onto the sauce.

Return to oven and bake 10 - 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Note:   You can add a little water along with the two tablespoons of wine to rejuvenate your "baked" tomato sauce before topping the meat pinwheels.  This gives it a nice bright red color and thins it out a bit.




Top with fresh herbs.

Cut calories by skipping the pasta.  I like to serve this dish with sautéed mushrooms with thyme and broccoli roasted with Parmesan cheese. 
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