Cook's Illustrated

Hearty Beef Braciole

My nonna is no longer with us, but if I close my eyes, I can still hear the thwack-thwack of her meat mallet as she pounded pieces of beef thin for her weekly batch of braciole. She rolled the meat around a simple bread crumb, cheese, and herb filling; pinned the parcels with toothpicks; seared them; and slowly simmered them in a rich tomato sauce. The braciole was often just one element of her Sunday gravy, which could also include savory meatballs and rich sausages to serve at a family gathering with guests numbering in the teens. But the meaty bundles were always what really captivated me, and I figured it was time I learned to make them myself.

First, an acknowledgement that “braciole” means different things to different people: In much of mainland Italy, including Piedmont, where my nonna grew up, it refers to the dish I

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