Rolled Stuffed Meat with Tomato Sauce

See the RecipeBen Fink

Sal Marzilli, the chef at Joe Marzilli's Old Canteen in Providence, Rhode Island makes this dish with either veal or beef. Veal is lower in fat and tenderer, he points out—but he adds that beef is cheaper and has a heartier, meatier flavor. Marinara often contains oregano or basil, but Sal's version omits herbs. Save the leftover meat-enriched sauce for pasta.

Rolled Stuffed Meat with Tomato Sauce
This hearty Italian-American classic is perfect served on its own or with pasta and a meat-enriched sauce.
Yield: serves 4

For the Sauce

  • 2 (14-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Meat

  • 6 sprigs fresh basil
  • 4 (8-oz.) pieces veal or beef top round, pounded to 1/4" thickness
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. toasted pine nuts, finely chopped
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. raisins
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 14 cup vegetable oil
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. For the sauce: Put tomatoes, garlic, oil, and 1 cup water into a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. For the meat: Chop leaves from 2 of the sprigs of basil and set aside. Working with 1 piece at a time, put meat on a clean surface with one of the narrow ends facing you. Season with some of the granulated garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter one-quarter of the pine nuts, eggs, raisins, chopped garlic, chopped basil, and parmigiano-reggiano along edge of meat closest to you, leaving about a 12" border on either side. Fold long sides of meat over filling by about 12" on either side, roll up snugly, and tie securely with kitchen twine.
  3. Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add braciole and brown all over, about 5 minutes. Add reserved sauce, scraping browned bits stuck to bottom of pot with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer, turning braciole occasionally, until very tender, about 1 12 hours for the veal or about 3 hours for the beef.
  4. Transfer braciole to a cutting board; cut off and discard twine. Slice braciole crosswise and transfer to 4 warm plates. Spoon sauce on and around braciole and garnish with parsley and the remaining 4 sprigs basil.