Ma’s Bracciol

Robin asked me to write something on her blog. I was honored because basically I am not a good cook and I am not creative. Editor’s NoteMy Ma is a big fat liar, and say liar without the “R”, she is an incredible cook. Back to her story. I taught myself how to cook by using a cook book or by watching my mother-in-law cook. But enough of that already, this is Robin’s blog so I thought I would begin with a story about Robin when she was a little girl. She began to speak at about 5 ½ months old, no kidding, and she hasn’t stopped. A friend of mine at the time said that when kids start to talk that young, they are (the word back then was “retarded.”) handicapped. Little she knew. Anyway, my wedding album was a book that Robin loved to look at and she would get it and show it to company. She was about 3 or 4 at the time. She would talk like she was at the wedding. We finally told her that she was not at the wedding and she was not even born. She was so upset, she cried and cried.

My recipe below is bracciol. At least that’s how we say it. Braciol is flank steak or round steak cut thin horizontally, tenderized by using a meat tenderizer or even a plate held vertically and pounded. I put the meat between two pieces of wax paper or saran wrap when I pound it. Growing up we only had this on holidays, mostly at Christmas, when MaMa (Vincenza) would make homemade ravioli. She would get up at five in the morning to make the ravs and cook her homemade sauce and make meatballs and she would put lamb in her gravy (sauce) because PaPa, my father, for some reason could not eat beef (hello, the hamburger in the meatballs was beef). We would beg her to make bracciol and she would, but doing all the above, it was more work for her. Hers was so delicious. All she did was flatten the meat and use tons of garlic, hard boiled eggs, salt & pepper, roll and tie meat with string, fry it and then put it in the gravy until it tenderized. I think each nationality has their own version of some kind of rolled meat. The Germans roll their beef called “Rouladen.” Robin has that recipe and it is delicious. Today, there are all versions for this recipe. Some add salami, flavored bread crumbs, cheese but here is how I like to make it:

1 slab of flank steak, pounded thin
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2-3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
Grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

If meat is too big for rolling (which it usually is), cut in half or thirds and make three rolls. Spread flank steak with garlic, chopped eggs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper, spreading to within an inch to the edge. Roll and tuck edges in as you roll and tie with kitchen string. You can fry them to brown or just bake them in 350° oven until brown, about 20 minutes. Take the juice that it makes and the meat and put in tomato sauce and simmer with your sauce until tender. Let cool, remove string and then slice. Spoon some sauce over and enjoy.

By Rosalie Cannarozzo Klause

Epilogue- When my mom starts saying things like, “I can’t cook, I’m not creative.” I call this the “Woe is Ro” complex. Although my Mom states she is not a good cook or creative, let me make it clear, she is both of those and more. I would not be here at this blog doing what I do if it weren’t for her teaching me how to cook. She taught me and my brother, it was important to her. Maybe because her mother didn’t take the time with her, my own mom felt it important to teach us. I have watched her over the years pull off some tremendous meals, feed dozens of people at once with grace, and cook for us night after night. She is mostly self taught or learned by watching other women cook and asking them lots of questions. Her cake decorating is beautiful. Thanks for blogging for me Ma!


  1. organic mom
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    You are very brave to let your mom blog and tell stories. It is very sweet the stories of your youth. You are lucky to have a mom to teach you so many wonderful things. 🙂

  2. Tanya
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    This is one of the sweetest blog posts. The story of you and the wedding album is so funny! Can Ma be a guest blogger more often?

  3. Anonymous
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    Organic mom – I have lots of cute stories about Robin. She is a wonderful daughter. Ma

  4. Anonymous
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Tanya – Thank you for wanting me to blog more often but I think Robin does a much better job. Ma

  5. Kate
    Posted August 12, 2008 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    Oh, this is SO funny. No one who guest blogs and shares THIS kind of recipe, and back story, is without talent or creativity. I agree — LII-AH!!! Plus, she sounds exactly like my mother. When she gets into a self-deprecating mode, we call it the “Pitiful Pearl” complex and when she goes the other direction and thinks she’s all that, we call it the “Sally Sparkle Plenty” complex.

    ::laughing at our mothers::

    What a fun post!

  6. Anonymous
    Posted August 12, 2008 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Kate – Happy you enjoyed the blog, from “Sally Sparkle Plenty” Ma

  7. Laura
    Posted August 12, 2008 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    This was a great post–editor’s comments and actual post. The story about Robin and the wedding pics is hysterical!

  8. [eatingclub] vancouver || js
    Posted August 12, 2008 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing the recipe. Mothers’ recipes are the best!

    Keep on cooking and blogging. . .I’ll be reading.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted August 13, 2008 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    Laura: Glad you liked it. Robin has always had a creative mind. If I ever blog again, I will share other stories. Ma

  10. Anonymous
    Posted August 13, 2008 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    (eating club) vancouver 11js: This is such a delicious recipe, especially if you like garlic. Before I serve it, Robin & Rob are in the platter sneaking pieces. I hope you will try it. Ma

  11. _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver
    Posted August 14, 2008 at 1:27 AM | Permalink

    I love the Mama post!!! =)

  12. Kristen
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    I love that your mom contributed to your blog. Go mom! I can tell by this post alone that your mom is an amazing chef… too humble to admit it 🙂

  13. Robin Sue
    Posted August 20, 2008 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for commenting everyone. I think Ma did a wonderful job and I will have her back again soon.

  14. Tracy
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    I know for a fact the Ma Ro is an excellent cook! I have had the pleasure of enjoying her cooking while Robin and I were friends in High School! You rock Ma Ro!

  15. Suzanne
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

    Happy Easter from Suzanne and Godmother Diane,
    We love your stories. Hope you had a wonderful day.
    Auntie Diane says the bracciol brought back good memories!

  16. Kimbrough
    Posted January 18, 2014 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    Ha! Too funny, I call it the “woe is Jo” complex after my mom. I always thought it was a southern “thang”, but I now see it is universal. Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it!

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