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In most of Italy, a braciola is a slice of lean meat pan-fried or grilled, usually a pork-chop. In the United States, when people say braciole they mean what in Italy are called involtini (little bundles), thin slices of beef, or pork, or chicken rolled as a roulade with a filling of grated cheese, onions, garlic, parsley, olive oil, bread crumbs, minced prosciutto (or pancetta or Italian sausage), held together by a wooden toothpick or tied with a string. The word braciola comes from brace, hot coal. Braciole are usually served in red or white sauces and there are many variations on the recipe.

Siano is a town in the province of Salerno, in the Campania region; their oldest and most traditional dish is the goat braciola, very similar in preparation to the Italian-American version of braciole, cooked in a red sauce used later to dress pasta, and maybe that is where our American braciole came from.

Here is an article by Cathi Iannone on Braciole with Salsiccia:

The classic and simple flavors of Abruzzo come together in this simple, but elegant, earthy dish with hot ground Italian sausage as the defining ingredient permeating the entire dish. The combination of hot Italian sausage, with a milk-soaked bread mixture of stale bread, minced garlic, parsley, and  grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is nicely balanced as the two mix together. The egg yolk pieces add a richness, while the pine nuts add a subtle nuttiness to round out the complexity of the dish. The mixture is generously spread onto a very thinly pounded piece of pork shoulder that is rendered fork tender in the braising process.

Caramelizing the braciole bundles in olive oil prior to braising in the sauce enhances the savory 'meat' flavor, and fills the finished dish with a complex layer of nuttiness. During braising, the flavors from the sausage seep out into the sauce that cloaks the braciole, adding a dimension of meatiness to the sauce. The addition of Sherry wine and tangy peperoncini really make this sauce sing.  It just begs to be mopped up with a crusty piece of bread!

This classic, Abruzzese-style dish, actually, comes together very quickly with minimum prep work, and can be easily tweaked according to personal tastes. The true testament is that everyone will be asking you for the recipe!  Buon Appetito!

See Cathi’s blog at