RECIPE

Braciole and Sausages in Sunday Gravy

There’s probably going to be some sauce leftover here, but use some of the sauce and sausages to make sandwiches: on split ciabatta bread, with sautéed peppers (include some chiles), and a little provolone melted on top.

Ingredients

Braciole:

  • 1(10-ounce) box chopped frozen organic spinach, thawed and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants or chopped raisins
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 4 (8-ounce) pieces thin-cut top round veal or beef, pounded very thin
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO

Sunday Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • Leaves from a few sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Leaves from a few sprigs fresh sage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (28- or 32-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes (look for DOP on the label)
  • 2 pounds hot or sweet Italian sausage or a combination
  • 8 ounces pappardelle pasta or 12 ounces egg tagliatelle
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • A generous handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or shredded
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Preparation

Make the braciole: Separate the spinach with your fingertips as you add it to a bowl. Season the spinach with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg. Add the eggs, currants, pine nuts, garlic, and Parm to the bowl and gently combine. Season the meat with salt and pepper and arrange each cutlet with one of the narrow ends near you. Divide the filling evenly among the meat slices. Scatter the filling over the meat leaving a 1/2-inch edge or border on the sides. Fold the edge over the filling and tuck in the edges as you roll each bundle to secure the filling. Wrap and roll the remaining bundles and secure with kitchen twine to cover the ends and middle, like wrapping a package.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the EVOO (2 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Brown the meat bundles to evenly caramelize the meat all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Make the Sunday gravy: To the Dutch oven the braciole were browned in, add 1 tablespoon of the EVOO (1 turn of the pan). Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Let the vegetables cook 5 minutes to soften, then stir in the rosemary and sage and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir to develop the fragrance, then add the wine and scrape up the pan drippings. Stir in the chicken stock and tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher. Bring the sauce to a bubble, add the braciole back to the pot, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 2 hours more, stirring occasionally.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO (1 turn of the pan) over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook to brown all over. Add the browned links to the sauce and gently submerge them, nestling them in with the meat bundles. Simmer the mixture 30 minutes more to cook the sausages through and combine their flavor into the sauce. Remove the meat bundles to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Remove the sausages to a separate plate to cool.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Before draining, ladle out about a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and return to the cooking pot. Add the butter and half of the sauce, tossing to combine and adding a little starchy cooking water to make it all come together for you.

Cut the string from the braciole and serve them dolloped with more sauce and sprinkled with fresh parsley, with hot pappardelle pasta topped with fresh basil and some shaved Parm alongside.

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Rachael Ray