Photo of a plate of braciole & pasta

Don’t be like that guy!

The scene opens with a guy at the stove happily making his nonna’s braciole, then switches to his three friends shown making a beautiful dessert, a mouthwatering charcuterie board and one dropping a boxed of frozen something into a baking dish.

Everyone is oohing and aahing over the feast until they taste the braciole – it’s terrible. One friend asks about his nonna’s recipe and if she was a good cook. “No,” the grandson replies as the group laughs.

Don’t be that guy! Whether you’re cooking for yourself, family or friends, there’s no reason under the sun to not to serve yummy food.

My wish for you in 2022 is you’ll be adventurous and add new dishes to your culinary repertoire. Tucson chefs who make our food scene so unique and special are gearing up to offer their love of cooking and sharing knowledge with you.

They’re beloved for their kitchen creativity. Enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant is a treat in itself. We amp it up when you’re right alongside the chef. It’s guaranteed delicious fun.

The chefs and I send you our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022 that’s filled with joy in the kitchen!
Michele & the Flying Aprons Tucson Creative Partners

Mrs. Scafidi’s Beef Braciole
Serves 6

Note: Mrs. Scafidi was born in Sicily and lived there until she married American Mr. Scafidi, whom she met when he was in the Army during World War II. She then called New Jersey home.

For the braciole:
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups ½-inch bread cubes from day-old Italian bread
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 lbs. beef bottom round, cut into 12 ½-inch thick slices
12 slices (6 oz.) prosciutto
¼ lb. provolone cheese, cut into ¼-inch by ¼-inch sticks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions (about 8 oz.), chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
28 oz. can San Marzano plum tomatoes, plus more if needed
½ cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

1. To make stuffing: Pour milk into a medium bowl, add bread and soak until bread is very soft, 20-30 minutes. Drain, squeezing out excess milk with your hands, then return it to the bowl. Stir in parsley, cheese, raisins, pine nuts and garlic. Mix well and set aside.

2. With toothed side of a meat mallet, pound each slice to a ¼-inch thickness. Take a slice, short side closest to you, and top with prosciutto, using the back of a knife to adhere prosciutto to the meat. Spread 2 tablespoons of filling over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Place provolone stick crosswise over the edge closest to you. Fold the border over provolone, then fold side borders in to overlap edges of the stuffing. Roll into a tight roll. Secure end with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining slices, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Empty tomatoes into a bowl and squeeze them with your hands until coarsely crushed, removing the cores.

4. Heat a large, heavy casserole dish over medium heat. Add onions, cooking until onion is wilted, about 5 minutes, then add garlic. Place as many braciole as will fit in a single layer and cook, turning until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes. Repeat with any remaining braciole. Adjust heat as needed to prevent beef from scorching.

5. Add wine, bring to a boil and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and bay leaves, stirring until paste is dissolved. Lightly season with salt, pepper and red pepper (if using). Adjust heat to simmer and cook, adding water as needed to keep braciole completely submerged, until tender, about 3 hours.

6. Remove bay leaves and toothpicks before serving over your favorite pasta. Can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, then reheated over low heat until heated through.

Photo credit: Tasty

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