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Authentic Italian Braciole Recipe

My Authentic Italian Braciole Recipe is set to be your new family favorite! Deliciously tender rolled beef is stuffed with pecorino, parsley, and breadcrumbs, before being braised in a rich tomato sauce. Perfection!

An Authentic Italian Braciole recipe prepare in a red pan with one braciole sliced on a white plate.
Simple Italian cooking at it’s best!

When I have all the family at my house for Sunday lunch I love turning to comforting dishes like my Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells, Beef Spiedini, or Chicken Pomodoro. And my Italian Beef Braciole is another one of these trusted family recipes. 

This authentic Italian Braciole recipe is loaded with those wonderful southern Italian flavors that we all love so much. I have been making this recipe for years and can assure you it’s easier to make than you might think. Keep reading for lots of tips to help you perfect this hearty Italian dish!

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Southern Italian flavors – you’ll love the combination of pecorino, garlic, parsley, red wine, and tomatoes in this Beef Braciole dish. Together they’ll make your kitchen smell like Nonna’s house.
  • Tender beef – I’ve included all the tips in this recipe to ensure you have perfectly tender beef. This Authentic Italian Braciole is such a pleasure to eat for young and old just like this Easy Beef Stew.
  • Simple ingredients – while this dish is wonderfully flavorful, you don’t need any special ingredients: just basic Italian pantry staples and a nice cut of beef.  You may see many recipes including prosciutto, raisins, and pinenuts in the braciole filling but this recipe is as authentic as you will find in Southern Italian.
  • Crowd pleaser – this Italian Beef Braciole recipe is perfect if you’re cooking for a crowd! It’s a deliciously comforting dish, with familiar Italian flavors and classic cooking techniques. 

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.

Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe as in the recipe card.
  • Beef – my preference for making Italian Braciole is using the top round cut. You can ask your butcher to cut the top round into thin slices. I usually get 4 large steaks from the amount specified in the recipe below.
  • Canned tomatoes – I recommend using the whole peeled variety.
  • Red wine – choose a red wine that you enjoy drinking for the best results. 
  • Pecorino Romano cheese – also known as Romano cheese. This will add a lovely savory flavor the this authentic Italian Braciole Recipe. 
  • Olive oil – For this recipe, use extra virgin olive oil.
  • Garlic – choose plump and juicy garlic cloves for the best results.
  • Parsley – chopped fresh parsley adds some much freshness to this dish. Please don’t use dried parsley, it doesn’t have the same herby punch. 
  • Bread crumbs – I always have a bag of my homemade Italian Bread Crumbs pre-prepared in the freezer for times like this. Alternatively, you can use storebought. 

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl and set aside.

Steak being pounded between two sheets of parchment paper.

Use a meat mallet to pound the steaks between two sheets of baking paper.

Parsley, bread and cheese filling on a thin beef steak.

Divide the filling mixture evenly amongst the flattened steaks. 

Raw beef steaks rolled up and tied with cooking twine.

Roll up the steaks keeping all the filling inside. Tie with cooking twine.

Rolled beef steaks being browned in a pan.

Brown in hot olive oil.

Red wine being added to browned beef rolls in a pan.

Add the garlic and then red wine allowing it to come to a boil.

Tomato puree being added to browned beef rolls in a pan.

Pour in the tomato puree, and season with salt, and pepper. Simmer with the lid on for 1½  – 2 hours until tender.

Hint: After simmering for about 45 minutes, turn the braciole, spoon sauce over each, and continue cooking. You may need to stir a little water if the sauce has evaporated a lot. At this point, taste the sauce to check if there is enough salt.

Substitutions

  • Beef – use thinly sliced pork, chicken or veal instead.
  • Pecorino Romano cheese – you can substitute Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano) or another hard salty cheese.
  • Red wine – if you’re not a red wine drinker, you could use white wine instead. Or substitute wine with beef stock or broth.
  • Canned tomatoes – tomato puree or tomato passata can be used in place of canned whole peeled tomatoes.

Variations

  • Decadent – lay a slice of prosciutto, ham, or a slice of fatty pancetta onto the beef for extra flavor and decadence to this authentic beef braciole dish. 
  • Sicilian flavors – add pine nuts and raisins to the bread crumb mixture for a quintessential, sweet, savory Sicilian touch. 
  • Traditional version – stuff the Italian Braciole with hard-boiled eggs for a classic Italian variation. It’s the most delicious surprise!

Equipment

For this authentic Italian Braciole Recipe, you’ll need a good knife for slicing the beef, if you plan to slice it yourself. You’ll also need either a meat mallet or a rolling pin for tenderizing and cooking twine to hold the beef braciole in place.

Storage

If you would like to prepare this Italian beef braciole recipe in advance, you can store the rolled and stuffed beef pieces in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

Alternatively, the leftover beef braciole can be stored in an airtight container (once cooled) and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. To reheat leftovers, simply use a microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through. 

Top tip

Rolled up beef steaks in tomato puree.
  • Choosing the beef – It is important to use the right cut of beef for this authentic Italian Braciole Recipe. My preference for this recipe is top round steak, however rump, skirt, or flank steak are popular alternatives.
  • Pound – The beef shouldn’t be too thickly cut. Ask your butcher to slice the beef if you aren’t confident and then pound the steaks with a meat mallet to tenderize and flatten.
  • Be gentle – When pounding, begin in the middle gradually moving towards the sides. I like to use the flat side of the meat mallet and place the beef between two sheets of baking paper. Take care not to pound too roughly or the meat will tear.
  • Secure – I prefer using cooking twine to secure the little beef parcels together, however, you can use toothpicks if that’s easier. 

FAQ

Why is my braciole tough?

There are a few reasons why your braciole might be tough. First, it might be the wrong cut of beef. Refer to my recipe tips for more information on selecting the right cut. Furthermore, it is important to use a meat mallet to tenderize the beef before stuffing and rolling. Finally, the beef must be cooked at a gentle simmer for a long time in the tomato sauce.  

What is the difference between braciole and involtini?

The two terms can be used interchangeably for any piece of meat that is stuffed, rolled, and braised in a sauce. Generally, however, braciole refers to a thicker and larger piece of meat, almost like a roast. However, in the Sicilian American culture involtini are usually referred to as braciole as in this Authentic Italian Braciole Recipe.

What is the origin of beef braciole?

Beef braciole originated from Sicily, Puglia and Calabria in the south of Italy, however it has become widely popular in Italian American cooking. The southern Italian flavors in this Authentic Italian Braciole Recipe are a tribute to its origins.

Serving Suggestions

Beef braciole sliced and served on tomato sauce on a white plate.

I love cooking this authentic Italian Braciole recipe as the second course and stirring cooked pasta through the rich tomato sauce for the first course. But it’s also equally delicious served as a main meal with my Red Skin Mashed Potatoes and Italian Roasted Vegetables on the side. 

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An Authentic Italian Braciole recipe prepare in a red pan with one braciole sliced on a white plate.

Italian Braciole Recipe

Thin beef steaks rolled around a filling of parsley, pecorino Romano cheese, garlic and bread crumbs, quickly browned then simmered in more garlic, red wine and tomato. Simply a classic!
5 from 38 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 27 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 27 minutes
Servings:4 people
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

  • 1.3 pounds (600 grams/1 pound 5 ounces) top round
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup (6 ounces/180 grams) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 28 ounces (800 grams) peeled tomatoes pureed or crushed
  • Salt and black pepper

Instructions

  • Have your butcher cut the top round beef into thin slices.
  • Use a meat mallet to pound the steaks between two sheets of baking paper. Begin in the middle and pound towards the sides. If the slices are particularly large, they can be cut in half. I found that this quantity of beef gave me 4 good-sized steaks which can be cut into 8 smaller pieces if desired.
  • Combine the bread crumbs, pecorino cheese, parsley, and 1 chopped garlic clove in a small bowl and season with salt and black pepper.
  • Lay out the pounded steaks on the work surface. Season with salt and pepper then divide the filling mixture evenly amongst the steaks.
  • Roll up, folding the sides in as you go. Secure with cooking twine.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Cook the beef rolls for 3-4 minutes, turning, until browned all over.
  • Add the remaining garlic and when you can smell the garlic beginning to cook, pour in the red wine and let the wine come to a boil.
  • Then add the tomato puree, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, spoon the sauce over the braciole, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the lid on and let it simmer gently for 1½ – 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Keep an eye on the sauce so that it doesn’t cook at a high simmer and add a little water if the sauce evaporates excessively.
  • Halfway through the cooking, turn the braciole over and continue cooking.
  • If you’ve made large braciole, slice thickly then serve with the tomato sauce and crusty bread. The sauce can also be stirred through pasta to be served alongside the braciole.

Notes

Tips for Success
  • I like top round steak, but you can try rump, skirt, or flank steak 
  • Ask your butcher to cut the beef into thin slices for you.
  • Gently pound the steaks between to sheets of parchment paper or plastic to make even thinner and more tender.
  • Use cooking twine or wooden toothpicks to secure the rolled steak.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 613mg | Potassium: 875mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 242mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night for a family dinner. I cooked up some penne pasta to serve with the sauce. There was plenty of sauce for the pasta. There’s lot of sauce! Yum!