Slow Cooker Beef Braciole
Braciole is a slow-braised Italian beef roulade commonly filled with a combination of salt pork, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and prosciutto.
Our version uses beef top round, pounded thin and rolled around a slightly different filling of finely chopped Genoa salami, fresh basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella and fresh breadcrumbs.
Braised in a tomato and red wine sauce and served over pasta, this is a hearty dish filled with classic Italian flavors.
- 2 lbs beef top round, thinly sliced for braciole (see notes)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces Genoa salami, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 6 to 8 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (preferably from a crusty Italian bread)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- Olive oil
- 1 lb cooked pasta (ziti, rigatoni, penne or rotini)
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Start by preparing the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Stir in the tomatoes, red wine and oregano. Simmer for 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer the sauce to the slow cooker.
- Start the slow cooker on low and wipe out the pan you used for the sauce.
- Working with one piece at a time, place the beef between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound each to an even thickness of 1/4-inch. Arrange the slices on a flat surface and season with freshly ground black pepper (no salt).
- Place the salami, garlic, basil and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, then add the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and mozzarella. Pulse until the mixture is well blended and has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Place a portion of filling about 1-inch from the end of each piece of beef. Roll the meat into cylinders, being careful not to push too much filling out the ends.
- Using butcher's twine, tie each roll in the center, then tuck in the ends and run an additional, longer piece of twine around the length of the roll. Trim the excess twine and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of your frying with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the braciole and brown lightly on all sides, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes total.
- Transfer the braciole to the slow cooker, nestle them into the sauce and spoon a little over each roll. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.
- Once cooked, transfer the braciole to a plate and using kitchen shears, remove the twine from each piece. Serve over freshly cooked pasta and top with sauce.
About the Beef:
We generally make braciole with a London Broil (top round) that's approximately 2 pounds and 1-1/2-inches thick. We're fortunate enough to have a butcher that does a beautiful job slicing it horizontally into 1/4-inch thick pieces. This makes 6 individual rolls that measure about 4-inches long by 2-3/4-inches in diameter.
If you don't have this option, individual, thin-sliced round steaks will work just fine, and flank steak is yet another alternative. With flank steak, however, you'll want to make one large roll and slice it for serving once it's cooked. Cooking time in the slow cooker would remain the same.