Nana’s Bruccialuna FOR THE STUFFING WHAT YOU WILL NEED ½ cup breadcrumbs ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese ½ cup grated provolone cheese 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons dried oregano 1 or 2 raw eggs Salt and pepper 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled 2 carrots HOW TO PREP
I came to understand that we would be rolling up this meat, and slicing it for serving, so the cross-section had to look really appealing on the plate and on the platter. This meant hard-boiled eggs, strips of carrots and sometimes basic leaves placed in a manner that would make an interesting pattern after the bruccialuna was cooked. We would roll up the meat and then tie it with string. Nana would salt and pepper the outside, then brown it in olive oil in a heavy pot. After it was browned in olive oil she would put the roll on a plate. We would take tomato sauce from the freezer where there was always an ample supply. Nana’s tomato sauce was always made in huge batches and then frozen in more manageable portions, ready for a quick meal or for something for Sunday dinner, like bruccialuna. To deepen the flavor of the sauce, in the pot that had the olive oil in it, now with the goodness of the browned meat sticking to the bottom of the pan, Nana added an anchovy that she melted into the oil.Then she would add chopped onions, a bit of chopped celery, a grated carrot, the zest of half of a lemon and the zest of an orange. Then she added the tomato sauce. After it was simmering she would add the browned bruccialuna. I would watch the tomato sauce just cover the roll. Then it cooked down, getting thicker, until the bruccialuna was exposed in the pot. There was always pasta to accompany this lovely roll. A bit of sauce was tossed with the pasta and placed on the big platter. On top of the pasta went the bruccialuna. Then it was sprinkled with cheese and then sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley before being set on the table. It was carried in to appropriate “ahs.”We all knew that we had to loudly appreciate the dish. It was sliced and served.We dug in and there was silence.
FOR THE SAUCE WHAT YOU WILL NEED 1 anchovy filet 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 onion, finely chopped 2 stalks celery finely chopped 1 carrot, grated
Grated zest of one lemon Grated zest of one orange 2 cups tomato sauce — homemade is best 1 cup red wine Prepared pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese Freshly chopped parsley HOW TO PREP
Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic and oregano in a bowl. Add one raw egg and salt and pepper to taste. If the consistency of the mixture seems dry, add and mix in the second egg. Peel the 2 carrots in half lengthwise. FOR THE MEAT
Dissolve the anchovy in the hot oil, stirring up the bits of browned meat in the pan. Add the garlic and onion. Cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the celery, carrot and zests. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce and 1 cup red wine. Stir well and cook until it all begins to simmer. Add the bruccialuna and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cook about 10 minutes. Place the covered pot into a 325˚F oven for about an hour. About 30 minutes into the cooking, turn the roll. Return to the oven. After the hour, uncover the roll and cook for another 30 minutes. Toss the pasta with sauce to cover lightly. Place on a platter. Place the roll on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6
WHAT YOU WILL NEED 1½ pounds of flank steak Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil HOW TO PREP
Place the flank steak between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it into an even thickness with a meat mallet or an empty wine bottle. (Do not beat it to death.) Salt and pepper the meat. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe pot. Spread breadcrumb mixture over meat. Place 2 hardboiled eggs on the short axis of the meat. Lay 2 carrot halves, one on each side of the eggs. Begin rolling the meat, rolling the short end, jellyroll fashion. When about halfway rolled, add another piece of carrot. Right before the last roll, add the last carrot. Using kitchen twine, tie the roll snugly. Then brown on all sides in the hot oil, about 4 to 6 minutes on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
photo courtesy www.thebrooklynragazza.blogspot
“New Orleanians seem to agree never to spell broo-sha-loh-nee the same way twice, and certainly never to spell it like it sounds or to pronounce it the way it looks. In her cookbook, Marie Tusa of Central Grocery spells it bracioline and suggests making it with veal sirloin tip roast. On his website, John Folse spells it bruccialone and calls for pork loin. At Mandina’s it’s veal bruccialone and stuffed with spinach and egg as a Thursday special. It’s broccolini at Rocky & Carlo’s ...” —Sara Roahen, Gumbo Tales, Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table Available at local bookstores and online.
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