Crumbed beef in tomato sauce

Crumbed beef in tomato sauce

Braciole rifatte

By
From
Florentine
Serves
4
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

This classic Florentine dish is one of many with the title ‘rifatte’, meaning ‘redone’, a great example of how thrifty Florentines know how to give a second life to leftovers by recooking them with tomatoes. Naturally, this is a dish that changes from household to household and largely depends on what you already have on hand. This particular recipe is inspired by one from Trattoria Mario, one of the city’s best and most traditional trattorie.

This is a truly economical main dish – the reason it has always been popular in home cooking as well as old-school canteens – and the cheaper ingredients are actually its best feature. Begin with very thin slices – pound them with a meat mallet if you like to make them even flatter and wider – and a heaping amount of breadcrumbs which will soak up the sauce and plump up the braciole like sponges. And serve with plenty of sauce and a basket of sliced Tuscan bread. The bread here – both in the breadcrumb mixture and in the obligatory scarpetta (when you sop up the leftover sauce on your plate with sliced bread) – is what actually fills up hungry diners, enabling the clever cook to satisfy many with a relatively small amount of meat.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 thin slices lean veal or beef, about 100 g per slice
1 egg, beaten
65g dry breadcrumbs
90ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400g tinned tomatoes, chopped or peeled
250ml homemade beef stock or water
2-3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, finely chopped
tuscan bread, to serve

Method

  1. Pound the meat with a mallet if desired, to make the slices very flat and wide. Put the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs in two separate shallow bowls. Dip the meat first in the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs, pressing down well and ensuring they are well covered.
  2. Pour about 60 ml of olive oil into a wide frying pan over medium heat. Fry meat on both sides until golden brown and crisp. The timing will depend on your preferred thickness of meat. Set aside to drain on paper towel.
  3. Prepare the tomato sauce. In the same pan you used to fry the meat, heat the rest of the olive oil over low–medium heat and gently cook the garlic until soft and slightly golden. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your spoon, and stock (or water), then season with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked meat to the tomato sauce, making sure they are completely submerged in the tomato sauce. Allow to simmer over a medium heat until the meat becomes swollen with the sauce and the sauce thickens. If it begins to get dry, add more stock (or water) as necessary.
  5. Serve the braciole with plenty of sauce, parsley scattered over the top and crusty bread to wipe your plate clean.
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