Apulian Menù. The Orecchiette with braciole

The Orecchiette con braciole 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>>> (coming soon)

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 (form 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
  • toothpicks
  • 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)
  • salt

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 feeling and sometimes what you have into the fridge 😉

The quantity of ingredients is also a question of sun, soil and wind….

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 should 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 fry 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 “braciole” and let them fry into the oil for few minutes, turning them continuously making them brown on all sides and not to burn (burning will make the meat hard). Add red/white wine, whose quantity depends on your… feelings.

Remember: in the South we never follow receipe but we are guided by our emotions…..

For few minutes, let the alcohol evaporate and when it is ike a cream or a caramel, add the sauce. Decrease the heat and continue till now with a low heat. Let cook for almost 2 hours adding “some” salt and occasionally water if you see the sauce has reduced lot. The sauce should remain almost liquid. Halfway through cooking add salt and some basil leaves.

A secret: for the last addition of water mix into the sauce one ladles of the cooking water.

Use the sauce to season the Orecchiette for the first course and eat the braciole as a second course. Don’t forget the “scarpetta” with a good pugliese bread…

Buon appettito!


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 and Sava and Manduria, the same area in which is produces the Primitivo wine with its intense and strong taste.

Related articles:

>>The sauce (coming soon)

>> How to prepare “Orecchiette con cime di rapa” (coming soon)

>> How to prepare “Orecchiette with breadcrumb” (coming soon)

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