Chef Elise Kornack’s grandmother handed down this classic Italian recipe, and you can practically taste the family tradition in this dish! A simple homestyle tomato sauce coats pinwheels of juicy beef rolled with seasoned bread crumbs for a hearty, filling dinner.
Filling: Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, grated cheese, pistachios, raisins, red pepper flakes, and ground fennel seed. Use a Microplane to grate garlic cloves into the bowl. Pour in olive oil and stir to combine, then add lemon zest and combine again: the filling should feel like wet sand.
Beef: Place flank steak on a sheet of plastic wrap, and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to pound meat, flattening to about ¼-inch to ½-inch thick. Set aside. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium low heat. Remove top sheet of plastic from the steak. Spread half of the filling evenly over the steak. (Use remaining filling as stuffing for steak, chicken, or vegetables, or freeze for up to 2 months.) Use the back of a spoon to press the mixture into the steak; push in any stray raisins along the edges or they will burn in the pan. Starting with the thicker side of the meat, roll up the steak like a cigar, using the plastic to keep the roll tight. Wrap the rolled braciole in plastic to hold it together. Set aside.
Truss: Cut four 12-inch strips of twine to tie the braciole. Place them on a flat surface, 2 inches apart and parallel to one another. Gently remove plastic wrap from the braciole, and lay the meat on top of twine, seam side up. Tie the outer strings first to keep the roll in place, and work inwards, finishing with the middle strings.
Turn heat to high and heat the oil. Season braciole generously with salt and place in the pot; it should sizzle when it touches the oil. Turn heat down to medium-low and add rosemary sprigs to the oil on either side of the braciole. Brown meat on three sides, 2 minutes per side. Before browning meat on the 4th side, smash garlic cloves and add to pot to infuse the oil (you can leave the skins on). At this time, remove and discard the rosemary sprigs.
When the meat is brown on all sides, turn off the heat and add the wine. Turn heat to medium and bring the wine to a boil; continue boiling until there is no odor of alcohol, 1–2 minutes. Add tomato purée (and salt, if the purée is unsalted); stir and bring to a low simmer. Shape a piece of aluminum foil into a circle about the size of the pot lid. Loosely tent the foil over the simmering meat. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes; then remove from the oven, lift away the foil, flip the meat over, and baste with the sauce. Replace foil over the meat and place back in the oven, 25 more minutes. (Meat will cook in the oven for a total of 80 minutes.)
After a total of 45 minutes, remove foil and discard. Flip and baste braciole again, then place back in the oven for the last 35 minutes.
When braciole is cooked, remove from sauce; cut into slices that are 1 to 1½ inches thick. Cut the twine and discard, then place slices on a serving platter. Spoon sauce over the meat followed by chopped parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.