Instant Pot Braciole with sauce tastes like it's been cooking all day! I've included stovetop directions for these Italian beef rolls too. Don't miss the video!
If I had to use my Instant Pot pressure cooker for one thing only, it'd be braciole. No contest.
The braciole emerges tender and delicious. But the tomato sauce produced after 30 minutes of pressure cooking, plus the heating-up time, tastes like it's been cooking all day.
The depth of flavor is tremendous. The sauce includes red wine, olive oil and garlic.
But, no worries if you don't have an Instant Pot (affiliate link). I've also included stovetop directions in the recipe notes.
What is braciole?
You might remember hearing about braciole ("brah-ZHOL" in Sicilian dialect) on Everybody Loves Raymond. Braciole are rolls of meat stuffed with Italian cheese, herbs, garlic, bread and seasonings and usually cooked in a tomato sauce.
Some Italians add hard-boiled eggs, pine nuts or even prosciutto to their braciole. My version includes top round steak stuffed with garlic, parsley, basil, torn pieces of soaked Italian bread and Pecorino Romano, the powerhouse of cheeses.
One roll is called a "braciola." But in Italy, any food rolled and stuffed is known as "involtini."
After one bite though, we'll just call them "delicious."
And that sauce...It's fabulous the first day, but mind-blowing on the second.
Now...here's where I prepare you for the burn signal you'll likely experience when cooking the braciole and tomato sauce in the Instant Pot.
The burn signal tends to come on for this recipe after the Instant Pot has been preheating for 20 minutes after you set it to pressure cook. It's because the sauce is slightly thick.
Even adding water doesn't solve the issue. Neither does deglazing the pot with wine after sautéeing the braciole.
So...don't panic. Just plan on an extra ten minutes to make things right.
What to do when the Instant Pot says 'burn'
- Press cancel.
- Do an instant release of the steam (keep the lid on; use a wooden spoon to press the release valve)
- After all the steam has been released, open the lid and stir the sauce, making sure to scrape along the bottom of the pot.
- Replace the lid and lock it (seal it.) Set the pressure cooking on high for the number of minutes remaining out of the original 30 minutes of pressure cooking. (Mine usually needs the full 30 minutes, because the burn signal tends to come on as soon as the Instant Pot is done preheating.)
- The burn signal should not come on again, but if it does, hit cancel and repeat the above steps.
What to serve with it
We love the braciole sauce ladled over pasta. We eat the pasta first, then have the sliced braciole with more sauce.
This is a fantastic meal that's perfect for Sunday dinner or the holidays. Whether you make this braciole recipe in the Instant Pot or on the stove, I hope you love it as much as we do!
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Instant Pot Braciole (Or Stovetop)
- 2 pounds thin top round steak (6 pieces cut for braciole; see notes)
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 cup torn 1-inch chunks of Italian bread (dampened with water)
- ½ cup parsley (snipped leaves)
- ¼ cup cut up fresh basil (frozen is fine)
- 2 cloves garlic (large; peeled & chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
Braciole Tomato Sauce
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 ounces red wine
- ½ cup water (only for Instant Pot version, not stovetop)
- 56 ounces crushed tomatoes (2 28-ounce cans)
- 4 cloves garlic (pressed)
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Prep your Braciole filling: Place about 4 thin slices of Italian bread in a bowl and drizzle water over it, to dampen the bread. Grate your Pecorino, if needed. Rinse, dry and cut up the parsley and basil. Peel and chop two cloves of garlic. Measure out your salt and pepper. Make sure to set out 18 toothpicks or have kitchen twine ready.
- Tear up the soaked bread into pieces, until you have one cup. Add the bread pieces to a small mixing bowl, along with the Pecorino, basil, parsley, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Use a spoon to divide the filling into six sections in your bowl.
- Place 2 or 3 slices of thin steak at a time on a large cutting board. (To prevent a mess, you can line your cutting board with plastic wrap first. You also can loosely cover the meat with plastic wrap before pounding it.) Pound the steak to make it more tender, being careful not to tear the meat.
- Top each steak with ⅙ of the braciole filling, covering the entire piece, except for about ½ inch around the border. Starting on the short side of the meat, roll up the braciole and secure it closed with three toothpicks a couple inches apart (or tie it with kitchen twine). Wash your hands well. (If using the stove instead of the Instant Pot, proceed to the stovetop directions in the notes.)
- With the lid sealed, set your Instant Pot to sauté on medium heat for 20 minutes. While it's preheating, prepare your sauce ingredients. Press your garlic and have the other ingredients ready.
- When the Instant Pot is heated up (mine takes four minutes), remove the lid and pour ½ cup oil into the pot. Wearing oven mitts in case of splashing, sauté three braciole rolls at a time in the oil. Use kitchen tongs to turn the meat as needed to brown all sides. If the meat is sticking to the pot, just use your tongs to scrape under the meat. It will take around 7 ½ minutes to brown each batch, or 15 minutes total. Remove the browned braciole to a platter and press Cancel on the Instant Pot.
- Deglaze the Instant Pot by adding 2 ounces of wine to the pot and using a wooden spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom. This helps with flavor and to prevent burning.
- Add the water to the Instant Pot, then add the braciole. Add the remaining sauce ingredients on top of the meat, but do not stir. Close and seal the lid. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 30 minutes on high.
- It will take about 20 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat, after which you will likely see a "burn" signal." If you get the burn signal, press Cancel. Do an instant release of the steam by pressing the vent spout with a wooden spoon. When all the steam is released, open the lid and stir the sauce, making sure to scrape along the bottom of the pot. Replace the lid and seal it. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes (or however many minutes were remaining of the original 30-minute pressure cooking time). You should not get another burn signal, but if you do, repeat these steps.
- When the braciole is done pressure cooking, do an instant release of the steam. Open the pot and serve the braciole and sauce with pasta, polenta or farro. It looks nicer to slice the braciole into rounds if you have company.
- Store leftover braciole and sauce in the refrigerator for up to four days.
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C)