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Posted on Apr 28, 2016 |

Rita’s Recipe: TWO Ways to Make Braciole

Rita’s Recipe: TWO Ways to Make Braciole

Braciole -- an Italian dish made of flank steak rolled with a combination of meats and cheeses --looks impressive but is easy to make and easy to customize to your taste.

Braciole — an Italian dish made of flank steak rolled with a combination of meats and cheeses –looks impressive but is easy to make and easy to customize to your taste.

Beef is mentioned in the Bible in several places, including a popular one in Luke Chapter 15 that talks about the prodigal son being fed a fattened calf when he returns home, much to the chagrin of his brother!

Here’s a favorite family recipe for Braciole (Italians tuffed and rolled beef. I know you’ll love it, and it is not difficult to make. Following that is another radio chef”s recipe — try them both!




There are lots of recipes for braciole, most of which use sliced meat and cheeses for the stuffing. This is a twist on that old favorite. Don’t be intimidated by the word “butterfly” in the directions. This is not hard and a favorite with my family. Beef is a good source of body­building protein.


  • 1 flank steak
  • 1/2 pound Italian or favorite sausage, uncooked
  • 8 oz Ricotta cheese, drained a bit
  • 1 large jar favorite pasta/marinara sauce
  • 1/2 pound boiled pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350.


Butterfly flank steak: have grain running vertically. Cut slowly through the center, holding your knife flat against the steak almost all the way through to the other side. The steak should open like a book. You’ll have a piece of meat that is half the original thickness but twice the width. Don’t worry if there’s a few tears.


If you want, pound out the center for even thickness. Spread sausage and ricotta over steak. Roll up meat tightly (if you want you can tie it in several places – this will keep the shape nicely) and place in sprayed roasting pan, seam side down. Cover with sauce.

Bake 45­-50 minutes. Thermometer will read 155­-160 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Slice and serve on pasta shells, pouring sauce on top of meat. Sprinkle with Parmesan.




From colleague and friend, Caitlin Steininger. Caitlin says: “Use this recipe as a template and tailor it to your tastes. Substitute mozzarella for the provolone and shingle other delicious meats like hot capicola, mortadella, or classic salami. You might even layer vegetables like peppers, eggplant, or asparagus.”



  • 1 flank steak
  • 1⁄4 lb. sliced pepperoni
  •  1⁄4 lb. sliced prosciutto
  •  1⁄4 lb. sliced genoa salami
  •  1⁄4 lb. sliced provolone
  •  4­-6 cups marinara sauce
  • 3 feet butcher’s twine




  1. Using a sharp knife, butterfly the steak to create more surface area for the meats and cheese (ask your butcher for help if you do not feel comfortable doing this). Lay your flank steak on the cutting board so the muscle is going up and down.
  1. Shingle all of the meats and cheese onto the steak, one layer at a time.
  1. Tightly roll the steak from left to right and lay the seam on the cutting board.
  1. With your butcher’s twine, tie 4 knots down the length of the steak to keep everything together.
  1.  Lower the braciole into a deep roasting pan and cover with sauce (you know Aunt Norma’s Sauce is the best, but you should use your favorite). Next, place the dish in a 325 ­degree oven and let cook for 2­-3 hours, or until the braciole is tender. After 2 hours, remove from the oven and let cool. When you are ready to eat, remove the braciole from the sauce, snip the strings off of the braciole, slice the meat and serve with the sauce spooned over top.


Tips + Tricks

**In a pinch, you can use unflavored dental floss instead of butcher’s twine. Just make sure it is UNflavored!

**Wrap several braciole at a time and freeze them to have when you’re ready, up to a week in advance. Double wrap before popping into the freezer. Then, a day before you want to enjoy it, place in the refrigerator to thaw; pick up the recipes where you left off.­


See more, including the recipe for Caitlin’s Aunt Norma’s Sauce, at


Braciole photo courtesy Cooking with Caitlyn.


Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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