Veal Roll with Meatball Ragu: Braciole al Sugo con Polpette

Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
Prep:
25 min
Cook:
40 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • For the sauce:
  • 8 small veal breast slices (2 3/4 pounds total), pounded thin by your butcher
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/2 cup
  • 2 garlic cloves, plus 1 garlic clove thinly sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch red chili pepper flakes (or 1 small pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and passed through a vegetable mill
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 1/4 cup day-old bread, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Directions

Lay the pounded veal slices flat on a clean work surface. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the meat.

In the bowl of a mortar and pestle or a food processor, combine the parsley, 2 cloves garlic, 2 bay leaves, and the chili pepper flakes. You could also roughly chop these ingredients and mix until well combined. Crush or blend until the ingredients form a homogenous blend. Season, to taste, with salt. Divide this mixture equally among the 8 veal slices, placing the mixture in the center of each slice of meat. Carefully roll each veal piece up as you would a tortilla, making sure that the stuffing does not slip out either side. Secure each veal roll with toothpicks. Set aside.

In a 12 to 14-inch saucepan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame until hot but not smoking. Add the sliced garlic, onion, and the remaining bay leaf. Cook until the garlic softens and turns a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the veal rolls and let cook until lightly brown, turning carefully with tongs so that all sides brown, about 10 minutes total. Add the tomato puree, lower the heat, and let the mixture simmer while you prepare the meatballs.

Place the chunks of bread to soak in a bowl filled with water. Leave for 3 to 4 minutes, then, using a spatula, carefully remove the bread and let drain slightly on a plate lined with paper towel. After a few minutes, place the bread in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the garlic clove, ground veal, cheese and egg. Season, to taste. Stir until well combined. Using your hands, mould the resulting mixture into 12 small "meatballs," each about the size of a golf ball.

In a second 12-inch saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until hot but not smoking. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, panfry the "meatballs" until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately with the cooked veal rolls and tomato sauce.


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