Top Round Beef Braciole with Prosciutto

Learn why beef braciole is the best Sunday supper recipe ever. Tender top round beef is rolled around a zesty parmesan cheese and garlic breading and then is simmered in a rich, rustic tomato basil sauce. Served over pasta or creamy polenta, it’s such a satisfying, flavor-packed meal that feels special. They’ll be pushing back their chairs with big smiles.

Finished white dish of beef braciole with red sauce.
Braciole is the ultimate Sunday supper recipe for the whole family.

This recipe is my childhood. My memories of beef braciole soaking up a pot of rich tomato sauce are s t r o n g. I never knew until later that braciole was a dish my grandma Josie made to stretch the piggy bank because pounding out some top round or chuck steak not only makes it more tender but it makes it bigger.

With five hungry kids (4 boys) to feed plus a steel-mill working husband, a sister and mother-in-law who lived with you, Josie needed to find ways to stretch the dollar while filling bellies. And braciole did just that while also being special and fun.

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What is braciole and how the heck do you pronounce it?

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. It’s not brock-ee-oh-lee.

Braciole is pronounced “bra-shole”.

Braciole is a cheesy breadcrumb stuffed piece of thin steak rolled up and tied into little bundles.

In Italian, braciole means “chops”.

You’ll sometimes hear this dish referred to as “involtini” because of the smaller size of the individual “chops”. My grandma called it braciole so that’s what we call it.

p.s. I do have a well-loved eggplant involtini that you really should check out.

Braciole ingredient call-outs

Ingredients including beef on parchment for braciole.
A simple ingredient list including beef top round roast and a breadcrumb filling.
  • Beef. I recommend slicing a 2 lb top round roast into about 8 pieces. You’ll pound the beef thin with a meat tenderizer to make it easy to roll around the breadcrumb filling. See below for alternative cuts of meat that would also work.
  • Prosciutto. Thinly sliced. I used to get mine in a double-pack at Costco but they recently stopped carrying it (hope it’ll be back?). Trader Joe’s carries a single pack as well. You can also have it cut at the deli (but likely will be more expensive).
  • Seasoned breadcrumbs. I recommend the fine crumbs as opposed to panko but you can always quickly pulse the panko in a blender or food processor.
  • Romano cheese. Freshly grated and please—no green can, if possible. A high powered blender or food processor grates hard cheese (cut in chunks) beautifully!

Simple homemade sauce for beef braciole

Cooked beef braciole rolls in a pan of red tomato sauce.
A fresh tomato sauce amped up from all that amazing beef flavor.

Since the beef add a rich meaty flavor to the sauce, the ingredient list is very simple and short. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canned San Marzano tomatoes. You can also use tomato puree.
  • Tomato paste. A whole 6 oz. can
  • White wine. The unexpected flavor hero that adds a touch of sweet acidity.
  • Garlic.
  • Fresh basil sprig. A branch of basil just sits in the sauce perfuming it with herby freshness.

Don’t want to make homemade tomato sauce?

You can use jarred sauce. I recommend Raos’ Marina Sauce for the best, most authentic flavor.

More pasta sauces you’ll ♥️: tomato sauce with butter and onion, fresh marinara sauce, and traditional red sauce. All so good!

How to make braciole step by step

Three parts to make braciole: the beef, filling and the sauce. And I suggest starting with the latter.

I have added timing in each section so you can see how the recipe progresses.

The whole recipe takes about 2 hours with only 30 minutes of active cooking time.

Prep and pro tips

  1. Have kitchen twine cut ahead of time. 2-3 pieces about 8′ long for each braciole.
  2. If you don’t have a meat mallet or tenderizer to thin the meat, the back of a frying pan works too.
  3. Evenly pound the meat the same thickness across the whole slice for an even roll.
  4. A wide pan with deep sides works best to hold the braciole bundles and sauce. I use the All-Clad Weeknight pan…it’s so versatile and great for one pan pasta dishes.

Make the tomato basil sauce

  • Timing: 30 minutes before adding beef.
  • Make ahead: Yes! Up to 3 days.
wooden cutting board with diced onion and minced garlic and a knife.
1. Chop half an onion and finely mince some garlic.
White wine being added to pan of caramelized tomato paste and onions.
2. After cooking the onion and garlic in olive oil, add the tomato paste and caramelize it a bit. Pour in the white wine and cook for 2 minutes to cook off any alcohol.
pan of tomato sauce with basil.
3. Add in the tomatoes and fresh basil leaves along with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Prep the beef

  • Timing: Prep the beef while the sauce simmers. You should be able to stuff and roll the beef while the sauce cooks.
Pounding beef between sheets of parchment for braciole.
4. Pound slices of beef top round roast between a sheet of parchment paper folded over.
Hand holding thickness of beef round for braciole.
5. This is about the thickness you are looking for. 1/8-1/4″ thick. And yes, I measure it!
beef for braciole with prosciutto slices placed on top.
6. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto on each flattened piece of beef.

Make the filling

  • Timing: Mix the filling while the sauce simmers.
  • Make ahead. Yes. Make the same day and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before attempting to roll braciole or it won’t stick or spread properly.
white bowl of ingredients for braciole breadcrumb filling being stirred by wooden spoon.
7. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic parsley and seasoning to a bowl and mix until blended.
white bowl of braciole breadcrumb filling.
8. The filling should “clump” together when pressed.

Pro tip

If for some reason, the breadcrumb filling isn’t clumping together, add a little water (about 1 Tablespoon).

Roll the braciole

  • Timing. Also while the sauce simmers.
  • Make ahead. See below under “brown and cook”.
breadcrumb filling on open piece of raw steak for braciole.
9. Start with 1 Tablespoon of filling depending on the size of your piece of meat. I used 1 1/2 – 2 T per slice. Pat down the filling to adhere to the prosciutto.
beef braciole being rolled around breadcrumb filling.
10. Roll from the short end until the filling is enclosed.
tied rolls of beef braciole on parchment before being cooked.
11. Tie each end with twine. Don’t squeeze too tight. Trim ends of the twine to avoid soaking in the sauce.

Brown and cook

  • Timing: While the sauce simmers.
  • Make ahead. If you want to make braciole ahead, I recommend you cook the sauce and meat up to one day ahead. I don’t recommend you make the meat rolls ahead without at least browning them first.
pan of browned braciole being seared.
12. Brown braciole in a little olive oil in a skillet for extra fond and flavor.
Braciole rolls simmer in tomato sauce.
13. Add braciole to red sauce and cover to cook for about an hour.

Plating and serving

After the braciole has cooked and is tender

Plating. Traditionally, braciole is served as they are in tight little rolls. You can help your guests by cutting the strings ahead with kitchen shears.

I do leave a small ramekin out to collect all the kitchen strings if everyone is cutting their own.

Serving. My favorite thing to serve with braciole is pasta. Whether you make pasta from scratch or cook up some rigatoni or fusilli (my two recommended shapes), be sure to ladle over a healthy serving of red sauce and generous sprinkle of Parmesan.

I also love to serve creamy polenta with it (recipe coming soon). Or some cheesy mashed potatoes. SOOOO good!

Storage, freezing and reheating suggestions

Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

You can heat braciole on the stove over low heat until warmed through as long as you have plenty of sauce.

Made this recipe?

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Finished white dish of beef braciole with red sauce.
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Top Round Beef Braciole with Prosciutto

Learn why beef braciole is the best Sunday supper recipe ever. It's got it all…tender top round beef is rolled around a zesty parmesan cheese and garlic breading and then simmers in a rich, super easy tomato basil sauce. Served over homemade pasta or creamy polenta and you've got the most satisfying and flavor-packed dinner!
About 2 lbs of meat makes 8 rolls.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour
Sauce cooking time:30 minutes
Total Time:2 hours
Servings 4

Equipment

  • 16 pieces of kitchen twine approximately 6-8" long

Ingredients
 

For the sauce

For the breadcrumb filling

For the braciole

Instructions

Make the sauce

  • Saute onion in olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until you can smell it.
    1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 small white onion, 2-4 cloves garlic
  • Pour in the white wine. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and swirl around until melted and caramelized another two minutes.
    1/2 c dry white wine, 6 oz tomato paste
  • Add the crushed tomatoes or puree along with the salt, pepper and basil leaves.
    28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 6 fresh basil leaves
  • Simmer for about 30 minutes or so covered.

Mix the breadcrumb filling

  • Add the breadcrumbs and cheese to a medium bowl. Stir in the egg, garlic, parsley and mix until combined. The filling should hold or clump together into a small ball when pressed.
    1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, 2 Tablespoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon garlic

Prep the meat

  • Slice the beef into pieces about 1” thick. Place each slice between two pieces or a folded piece of parchment paper. Use a meat tenderizer or mallet to flatten the meat to about 1/4” thick.
    2 lb sirloin top roast

Roll the braciole

  • Place a slice of prosciutto on top of each flattened piece of beef.
    8 slices prosciutto
  • Start with 1 T of filling and use your hands or the back of the spoon to press it across the prosciutto topped beef. Add another spoonful of filling. Press down on the filling to flatten and adhere to prosciutto.
  • Start at the short end and roll up the braciole to enclose the filling. Tie each end with a piece of kitchen twine. Don’t pull too tightly but firm enough to make a sealed roll. Repeat with all the beef and filling.
  • Trim any “tails” of twine as needed.

Cook

  • In a separate large skillet, heat a little olive oil. Use tongs to brown the braciole on all sides turning as you go for about 2 minutes.
    Nestle each braciole in the sauce. Cover and cook over on low for about 1 hour until tender. Serve with sauce and parmesan cheese over pasta, potatoes or creamy polenta.

Notes

Make ahead tips:
  • Make the sauce ahead of time.
  • Flatten, fill and roll the braciole. Tie and refrigerate 
Alternatives to top round:
  • Milanese cut steak. A thin cut steak I have found packaged in the meat section of my grocery store.
  • Flank steak (best for making one large braciole). I recommend a meat mallet with spikes to tenderize when pounding.
  • Chuck roast. A more marbled cut making it trickier to roll but has big flavor.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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