Playing Braciole with Bacon and Onion Sauce

Who doesn’t love this Italian-American classic? This recipe simmers in another classic: Amatriciana (bacon and onion) sauce. Sunday is my middle name, Domenica. This dish is a favorite because it turns any day I make it into my day, Sunday. A day to share food and conversation and naps with the ones you love.

  • 3 eggs
  • About 2 cups cubed stale white or peasant bread, crusts trimmed
  • Milk, to soak bread
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup baby kale, spinach or arugula, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • A handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 pounds beef round steaks, cut into 12 slices and pounded very thin (1/8-inch)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 slices Prosciutto di Parma
  • 1/3 pound provolone or young pecorino, cut into 2- to 3-inch sticks about 1/4-inch square
For the bacon and onion sauce:
  • Olive oil, for browning meat
  • 1/3 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white or red wine
  • 2 cups chicken or veal stock
  • 1 32-ounce can D.O.P. Italian tomatoes, hand crushed
For serving:
  • For serving: Serve with side of pasta or crusty bread for mopping
Cover cold eggs with water, bring to full boil. Cover pan, remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Drain eggs, crack and let stand a couple of minutes in cold water. Peel eggs and chop.  
Soak bread in milk to soften then squeeze out excess milk as you add the bread to a mixing bowl.
Combine bread with chopped eggs, toasted pine nuts, currants, parsley, chopped greens, garlic, chili flakes and Parm.  
Season beef slices with salt and pepper, and top each with 1 slice of prosciutto and a few spoonfuls of stuffing at one end.  Nest a stick of cheese in the stuffing and tuck in the sides of beef as you roll into a bundle. Secure with kitchen twine. Repeat with remaining beef slices.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan olive oil. Add beef bundles, 4 rolls at a time so as not to crowd the pan, and brown well all over. Remove to a plate. Add the pancetta to the drippings and render 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add onions, garlic and bay; season with black pepper. Partially cover and soften onions 7-8 minutes then add tomato paste and stir 1-2 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half; add stock and tomatoes. Slide meat rolls back into the sauce and bring to a bubble. Simmer gently for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water or more stock if sauce reduces too much and meat rolls aren’t completely submerged.  
Remove meat rolls to a warm platter and cut off twine. If serving beef with pasta, toss pasta with starchy cooking water and half the sauce; spoon reminder over rolls. Charred ciabatta bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with EVOO makes a fine companion for mopping up the sauce as well.