Two for One: Tagliatelle with Beef Braciole

Two for One: Tagliatelle with Beef Braciole

3 minute read

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I did not grow up eating braciole. My family is from Milan in northern Italy and braciole are southern Italian: a hearty braise of stuffed beef cooked until meltingly tender in a rich, often wine-laced tomato sauce. My mom made no such food; the closest she came to it was beef pizzaiola, essentially thin slices of tomato-sauced beef topped with mozzarella (the cheese was the only part I ate, plucking it off the meat with my fork and leaving the rest behind).

I first tasted braciole in Puglia, during research for one of our cooking tours. And while my meat-loving husband devoured the bundles, I busied myself mopping up the incredibly flavorful sauce with the region’s golden semolina bread.

Braciole can be made with veal, beef, pork, or even lamb, though beef is the most common choice; the sauce always features tomato, and its intensity varies depending on the cook, on how much wine is added, and on which aromatics go into the braising pot.

Here I offer you a classic recipe for beef braciole from Puglia. It's a two-for-one affair, because you make one  dish and get two courses out of it:  serve the bundles as a second course as they do in Puglia, and toss fresh tagliatelle with their rich sauce as a first course. If you’re a member of our video membership site, why not make fresh tagliatelle to accompany the sauce?

lesson image

Tagliatelle with Beef Braciole in Red Wine and Tomato Sauce

This is Sunday food: beef is pounded thin and rolled around Pancetta, parsley, garlic, and grated Pecorino, then braised with red wine, aromatic vegetables, and tomatoes until succulent. The Pecorino melts inside the bundles, making the sauce even richer and ensuring the bundles hold together.  Serve the pasta with the rich cooking juices as a first course and the bundles following that.

Serves 4

For the bundles:

  • 675 grams (1 and ½ pounds) beef round tip steak, cut into 4 pieces and pounded thin with a mallet (about ¼-inch or .75-centimeter thick)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 115 grams (4 ounces) Pancetta, finely minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) freshly grated Pecorino Romano

For the sauce:

  • 30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 250 milliliters (1 cup) dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 750 milliliters (3 cups) chopped San Marzano canned tomatoes
  • 250 milliliters (1 cup) cool water, plus extra as needed

To serve:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 450 grams (1 pound) fresh tagliatelle pasta
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra for passing at the table
  • 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley

Make the bundles: Line a counter with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and place the two slices of steak on the foil or parchment in a single layer. Season evenly with the salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the Pancetta, garlic, parsley, and Pecorino. Following the natural grain of the meat, and roll into tight bundles. The meat will be more tender once cooked if you roll with the grain instead of against the grain, so that when you slice the braciole later, it will be against the grain.

lesson imageMake the sauce: Warm the olive oil in a deep, wide saucepan large enough to accommodate the pasta later. Add the bundles and cook over medium heat, turning as needed, until the bundles brown evenly on all sides, about 10 minutes. (Don’t worry if a bit of the stuffing pops out while searing; it will add richness to the sauce.)

Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, and chili, and cook until the vegetables are translucent and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

Deglaze with the wine and cook until it almost fully evaporates, about 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any bits and pieces that have stuck. Add the salt and pepper and stir in the tomatoes and water. Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 hours, or until the bundles feel tender when poked with a fork, adding a bit of water as needed to prevent scorching and to keep the sauce pleasantly moist and turning the bundles once in a while to promote even cooking. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm.

lesson imageWhen you are ready to serve, make the pasta: Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and the tagliatelle, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.

Remove the bundles from the sauce, and place the bundles on a platter; to serve the bundles as a second course, spoon on some of the sauce and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

To serve: Thin out the braciole sauce in the pan with enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to obtain a flowing consistency; taste again and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add the tagliatelle to the sauce, sprinkle with the Pecorino, and toss vigorously to coat. Serve the pasta hot, sprinkled with the parsley. Serve the braciole as a second course.

lesson image

meat braciole beef pasta sauce