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Tagliatelle with Beef Braciole in Red Wine and Tomato Sauce

This is Sunday food: beef is pounded thin and rolled around Pancetta, parsley, garlic, and grated Pecorino, then braised with red wine, aromatic vegetables, and tomatoes until succulent. The Pecorino melts inside the bundles, making the sauce even richer and ensuring the bundles hold together. In typical Italian fashion, the stuffed beef bundles (known as braciole in southern Italy, involtini in northern Italy) should be served as a second course, their rich cooking juices tossed with pasta as a first course.

Serves 4

For the bundles:

  • 1 and ½ pounds beef round tip steak, cut into 4 pieces and pounded thin with a mallet (about ¼-inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ pound Pancetta, finely minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano


For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped San Marzano canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup cool water, plus extra as needed

To serve:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 pound fresh tagliatelle pasta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra for passing at the table
  • 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley

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Make the bundles: Line a counter with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and place the two slices of steak on the foil or parchment in a single layer. Season evenly with the salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the Pancetta, garlic, parsley, and Pecorino. Following the natural grain of the meat, and roll into tight bundles. The meat will be more tender once cooked if you roll with the grain instead of against the grain, so that when you slice the braciole later, it will be against the grain.

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Make the sauce: Warm the olive oil in a deep, wide saucepan large enough to accommodate the pasta later. Add the bundles and cook over medium heat, turning as needed, until the bundles brown evenly on all sides, about 10 minutes. (Don’t worry if a bit of the stuffing pops out while searing; it will add richness to the sauce.)

Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, and chili, and cook until the vegetables are translucent and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

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Deglaze with the wine and cook until it almost fully evaporates, about 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any bits and pieces that have stuck. Add the salt and pepper and stir in the tomatoes and water. Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 hours, or until the bundles feel tender when poked with a fork, adding a bit of water as needed to prevent scorching and to keep the sauce pleasantly moist and turning the bundles once in a while to promote even cooking. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm.

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When you are ready to serve, make the pasta: Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and the tagliatelle, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.

Remove the bundles from the sauce, and place the bundles on a platter; to serve the bundles as a second course, spoon on some of the sauce and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

To serve: Thin out the braciole sauce in the pan with enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to obtain a flowing consistency; taste again and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add the tagliatelle to the sauce, sprinkle with the Pecorino, and toss vigorously to coat. Serve the pasta hot, sprinkled with the parsley. Serve the braciole as a second course.

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