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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Involtini di Manzo (Beef Braciole)

The ultimate Italian-American comfort food.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

For years I have been curious to try what many say is the “ultimate Italian-American comfort food”...braciole or as it is known in Italy, involtini.

Involtini is a traditional Italian dish made up of thin slices of meats (beef, pork or chicken), fish or eggplant that are stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs, rolled, seared and finished up in a low and slow braising sauce.

The exact origin of this dish seems to be a bit of contested mystery, though the majority of fingers point to southern Italy, particularly La Sicilia (Sicily).

(Photo: Yosef Ariel)

Sicilian food is influenced by the best that the Mediterranean has to offer and this dish is no exception, featuring beef, tomatoes, herbs, spices and my own addition of pine nuts.

After finally giving it a try, I am telling you that I am hooked! The braising process (cooking food in a liquid), truly locks all flavors in and tenderizes the meat. Trust me, you are going to love it.

To beautifully pair this dish, I have opted to introduce a fantastic blend wine from the Puglia region, the heel part of the “boot“ of Italy.

(Photo: Mimmo Miccolis)

Puglia region wines come from the Daunia and the High Murgia, Murge, Lower Murgia and Itria Valley, Messapia and Salento wine territories.

The variety of terroir comprised of windy mountains, sunny hill, and sandy shores, create the ultimate expressions of a rich bouquet of aromas and unmatched flavors truly makes these wines stand out.

Let’s get cooking!


Involtini di manzo (beef braciole stuffed with herbed/spiced breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts, pan seared and then braised in a tomato-basil sauce).

Pasta with tomato-basil sauce.

Wine pairing:

2019 - Tre di Tre - Puglia IGT Rosso (red blend) Lupo Di Meraviglia (Puglia, Italy)

Serves 4



  • 2 28-ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes (processed in blender until smooth)

  • 2 pounds of beef top sirloin or skirt steak, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup of bread crumbs

  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 cup of lightly toasted pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil (save a few leaves for garnishing)

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 5 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup of white wine

  • sea salt and cracked pepper to taste


  • choice of pasta, ideally spaghetti or thin spaghetti tossed with some of the sauce made for the involtini

  • parmesan cheese for topping



  • Add the tomatoes to a blender and blend on medium speed until smooth. Transfer to a medium-size pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook on low heat.

  • Next, slice the sirloin roast or skirt steak into thin fillets and pound each of them out on a cutting board in between plastic wrap or a plastic bag until it is about ¼ thick. Season with salt and pepper Set aside.

  • In a medium-size bowl mix together bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper until combined.

  • Add a small amount of the bread crumb mixture to the center of 1 pounded beef fillet and spread it out across the beef fillet pressing it down into the beef. Roll up the beef to make a roulade.

  • Repeat until the beef and stuffing has all been used and truss each beef roulade with butcher’s twine or a toothpick.

  • Next, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat and sear the beef on all sides until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

  • Add in white wine and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • Pour in the tomato sauce, add chopped basil, then place a lid to the pan and cook over low heat for 1 hour.

  • Remove the butchers twine (or toothpicks) and transfer involtini filets to serving fish or to individual plates with some sauce on top.


  • cook half pasta package (enough for four serving) according to instructions.

  • toss pasta with some of the involtini sauce, just enough to coat the pasta.

  • Transfer to family style serving bowl or to individual plates.

Serve it up!

The wonderful part of the dishes featured today is they they can be served on big platters and bowls, family style or individually.

For individual servings, place a generous portion of pasta on one side of the plate.

*Tip: using a large meat fork twirl one serving inside of a soup ladle to get the perfect twist. Then, gently place it onto the plate.

Next to the pasta, serve one or two pieces of the involtini, topping it off with a little extra sauce, fresh basil leaves and sprinkling some Parmesan cheese.

Mangia bene! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

Special thanks to my friends at Winesellers Ltd. for their wonderful contribution of this one of a kind Italian red blend wine.

This wine is obtained from a blend of Negroamaro, Aglianico and Primitivo, whose carefully selected and treated grapes come from terroirs located in the Salento area that are particularly suited for wine.

These grapes are vinified together by using a technique which is popular among wineries, consisting in the extraction of all the potential from the skins (the famous “Salasso” or “Bleeding” technique).

This leads to a concentration of the extracted substances of the must and to the extraction of liquid both from the must and from the skins.This process results in a deeper color, more intense fruity nose scents and a higher concentration of the extracted parts.The wine obtained is then aged for 6 months in oak (25-50 hl Slavonian oak) where the second fer- mentation takes place (“Malolactic Fermentation”).

The result is a wine of great personality that combines the qualities of structure and concen- tration to a great drinkability.

2019 - Tre di Tre - Puglia IGT Rosso (red blend) Lupo Di Meraviglia (Puglia, Italy)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: Intense red color. On the nose the wine has scents of red fruit and jam which merge with the sweet and spicy notes of wood. On the palate it shows a great structure and persistence with a pleasent tannic finish.

Grapes: Negroamaro, Aglianico, Primitivo

Food pairing: Ideal for first courses and grilled, red meat.

For more information, visit:



Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

(Photo: Alessio Roversi)

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