Tom and I vacationed in Sicily three years ago. We enjoyed the warm hospitality, culture and food of this beautiful island and her people. While in Palermo, we had the pleasure of participating in a cooking class of typical Sicilian cooking conducted by Nicoletta Lanza Tomasi, the Duchess of Palma on Via Butera in her husband’s beautiful family Palazzo. Nicoletta was a gracious host and an informative teacher that day. We returned home to the states with wonderful recipes which beckoned me to get my apron and prepare panelle, fresh organic pasta sauce, Pantelleria style potato salad with capers and a fragrant flan-like dessert called Bianomangiare which I will share in another blog. Our main staple of the meal centered around thin slices of lean beef that we stuffed with fresh chopped pesto called Involtini di Carne alla Palermitana or Palermitan style Meat Rolls. We asked Nicoletta if this was a version of Braciola that we prepare back in the states. Her response was similar to other European cooks who remind us that our Italian-American ancestors arrived here bringing their traditions and recipes, many of which were adjusted over the years. Just ask them about spaghetti and meat balls.
The bottom line is that many Europeans enjoy our Italian-American traditions when they visit the states but they adhere to the recipes that comprise their culinary history and Nicoletta’s recipe for Involtini di Carne alla Palermitana is exactly that. Her delicious recipe for Palermitan Meat Rolls was easy to prepare and a memorable recipe I will keep on file but for now, I will stick with my Italian-American tradition of stuffed flank steak in robust red wine and tomato sauce. My recipe was revered by my Sicilian-American father-in-law, Tony Puma. This was his favorite. I really don’t know but I believe that after a serving or two of Brasciola, Dad may have even advised my husband Tom to marry me.
- 4 slices of flank steak, sliced very thin
- Pignoli Nuts
- Salami cut into small pieces
- Shaved Parmesan Cheese
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 eggs diced
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Kitchen Twine
- 1 quart of tomato and basil sauce
- 1 cup red wine
RECIPE: 2 Forks
Simmer the tomato sauce with fresh basil, oregano, salt, pepper and a little red wine (1 cup)
To prepare the BRASCIOLA, tenderize each slice of beef and set aside
Prepare small bowls of each ingredient so it is easy to stuff each roll
Begin to stuff the Brasciola in this order – Breadrumbs, 1 tsp Olive Oil, shredded Mozzarella, diced Salami, Chopped Hard Boiled Egg, Parmesan, Raisins, Pignoli, Salt & Pepper to taste
Roll the flank steak while keeping the stuffing neatly inside. As you roll, tuck the sides into the center of the roll
Wrap each roll with kitchen twine
Gently pan fry each roll in olive oil until brown
Move the brasciola rolls into a saucepan of tomato basil sauce. Simmer on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Serve with tomato sauce and shaved Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!