A good Sunday ragù often includes a braciola made of beef, pork or cutica (pig skin). They are not difficult to make, but they do require some dexterity when it comes to tying the butchers twine so that the meat and filling stay together during both searing and slow cooking.
If you're shopping on Arthur Avenue, I highly recommend both the beef and pork braciole made at Vincent's Meat Market. Peter DeLuca and his team of butchers only use the highest quality meat and a perfect mix of cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley. You can also special order them and even get them delivered right to your door if you live in Manhattan, Westchester or lower Connecticut.
But if you're a purist and would like to make your own, here's the recipe I like to call "The Baronessa's Braciole." On our food and wine tours of the Cilento region of Southern Italy, guests always enjoy a cooking class with Baronessa Cecilia Baratta Bellelli. The past two years she has taught us how to make her braciole with flank steak and a filling of parsley, raisins and pine nuts.
(This recipe requires a pot of Sunday Ragù.)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced,
1/4 grated pecorino cheese
1/3 cup black or white raisins
2 tablespoons of salt
2 lbs flank steak, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into 12 slices, about 6 inches by 4 inches
Mix the parsley, garlic, cheese and raisins together in a small bowl.
Place the meat slices on a flat surface and lightly dust them with salt. On the bottom of each slice, place a tablespoon's worth of the filling. Roll up each slice starting from the the filled bottom half. Tie it together with butchers twine or secure it closed with a toothpick.
Heat a large saute pan or (my favorite) a wok. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil and then sear your braciole one by one using tongs to flip. After they are seared, place them directly into your simmering pot of tomato sauce for 2 hours over a very low flame.
Remove the braciole from the sauce when tender and serve as a main course or (more traditionally) as a second course to pasta.