The Orecchiette con brasciole is a real classical menu in Puglia. It’s very common to smell this particular meat sauce on Sundays along the streets of our neighbor towns, prepared with the traditional hand-made orecchiette by our mothers’ and gradmothers’ hands.
Let’s start to prepare this typical Apulian menù.
Look here for vegetarian solutions>>>
What you need
A basic ingredient, the meat. In Puglia is usual to choose among three different kind of meat: veal, pork and horse. During our classes we use exclusively veal. Ask to the butcher for a compact piece of meat (the thigh) with a thickness of 2/3 mm.
- Meat (1 piece for each person or more)
- the 4 ingredients (see below) for stuffing
- additional garlic or onion
- pan with high edge
- sauce (1 lt. for 4 persons) – I suggest to prefer “Mutti” sauce, a nice sweet sauce, here the link to website>>>
- red or white wine (we prefer Primitivo, Negramaro, or a full-bodied and scented white wine)
The four ingredients (stuffing)
- garlic or onion
- parcely or celery
- pecorino cheese (minimun 6 months aged)
- hot chili pepper (discard it if you din’t like chili)
- Let be clear about the quantity of ingredients. Somewhere there’s a recipe with a clear indications of grams and liters but I’ve learned from my grand-mother the value of “un pò“, that’s to say “a little bit”, interpreted as a pinch or a palm or a full palm. So, I ever suggest to… follow your heart, your feelings and sometimes what you have into the fridge 😉
Procedure for meat stuffing
The cut of thigh can generate a large slice or a slender one. In this last case, extend the meat (it is elastic) with light pinches to the outside. Arrange it vertically lengthwise. In this way, it will be more comfortable rolling the slice.
Mince the four ingredients and put them in the middle of meat then overlap one side on the other. Roll it up, starting from the bottom. It should be tight so that the ingredients would not come out during cooking.
Close the meat with toothpicks crossing the slice.
The number of toothpicks can variate and we use them to distinguish the pieces of meat in case of different ingredients.
Cooking the meat
The Italian way of cooking is usually adding the ingredients one at a time. Into a pan with high edge put some olive oil and some pieces of garlic (or onion, it depends on your preference) and let brown for a while. It should only assume a golden color and don’t let it burn. Use all the time a low heat.
Add the “brasciole” to the oil with garlic for few minutes, turning them frequently making them brown on all sides and not to burn (burning will make the meat hard). Add some red/white wine, whose quantity depends on your… feelings.
Remember: in the South we never follow receipe but we are guided by our emotions…..
Increase the heat and cook for few minutes to let the alcohol evaporate and when it lp to caramelizes, add the sauce. Decrease the heat and let cook for almost 2 hours adding “some” salt and occasionally water if you see that the sauce has reduced lot. Halfway through cooking add some basil leaves.
A secret: for the last addition of water: mix into the sauce one ladles of the cooking pasta water. The starch wll help to thicken the sauce.
Use the sauce to season the Orecchiette for the first course and eat the brasciole as a second course. Don’t forget the “scarpetta” with a good pugliese bread…
Our sauce is made by using a specific tomato, the “San Marzano” variety, a long toamto with an intense flavorand a particularly firm and pulpy texture. It was tipical of the town of San Marzano near Taranto, Sava and Manduria, the same area in which the Primitivo wine is produces with its intense and strong taste.
>>The sauce (coming soon)
>> How to prepare “Orecchiette con cime di rapa” (coming soon)
>> How to prepare “Orecchiette with breadcrumb” (coming soon)