Braciole With Orecchiette
- 2 cups stale 1/2-inch Italian bread cubes
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic (2 smashed; 2 minced)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 28 -ounce container strained tomatoes or tomato puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds beef bottom round, sliced into 12 thin pieces
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for topping
- 6 ounces aged provolone cheese
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound orecchiette
- Combine the bread and milk in a large bowl and let soak, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Cook the olive oil, smashed garlic and red pepper flakes in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring, until the garlic softens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it begins to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the strained tomatoes, bay leaves and 5 cups water; bring to a boil and cook 20 minutes.
Place the beef slices between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a heavy skillet until 1/16 inch thick. Position the slices with the short sides facing you and lay a slice of prosciutto on top of each. Add 1/2 cup parsley, the pecorino and minced garlic to the soaked bread and mix with your hands, breaking up the bread; spread on top of the prosciutto.
Cut the provolone into twelve 2-to-3-inch-long sticks, about 1/2 inch thick. Put a piece of cheese horizontally across the middle of each slice of beef and trim any overhanging cheese. Starting with a short end, tightly roll up the beef and secure with a toothpick.
Transfer the braciole to the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer 1 hour. Uncover, stir and reduce the heat to low; continue simmering, uncovered, until the beef is tender and the sauce thickens, 1 more hour. (Add up to 1 cup water if the sauce gets too thick.) Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup parsley and season with salt.
About 20 minutes before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Remove the braciole from the sauce and transfer to a platter; remove the toothpicks. Pour half of the sauce on top. Drain the pasta and toss with the remaining sauce. Serve the braciole with the pasta; top with pecorino.
Photograph by Anna Williams
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