Sunday, August 12, 2007

Braciole with Vegetable Beggar's Purses; Risotto Balls with Grilled Tomato Aioli

Finally, a weekend without plans? Woo hoo, lots of time to spend cooking! And even better, my sister was home for the weekend and since we both love to cook, we decided to do it together (even if she got here an hour into the cooking :) Love ya, chickie!

I made risotto for dinner on Friday night with the purpose of making risotto balls for my sister on Saturday, so my menu revolved around the risotto balls. I was in the mood for some sort of beef, so after flipping through a cookbook while shopping that morning, we decided on Braciole. I tweaked this recipe by Giada.

For veggies, I wanted to saute vegetables in Italian spices, but took it a step further by making vegetable beggar's purses out of them. This is the recipe I tweaked.

Finally, I needed a new dipping sauce for my risotto balls, but still wanted to go with some sort of garlic aioli like the last one I made. I thought about adding tomatoes, and verified that my ideas would work by looking at a recipe by Bobby Flay for Roasted Garlic-Tomato Aioli.

Here is what I did for each item -


  • 1 flank steak, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 c Italian style bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c each freshly grated Parmesan and Pecorino-Romano cheeses
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper
  • Kitchen twine


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Place steak on a large cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and pound thin
  • In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheeses, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Spread bread crumb mixture evenly on the steak
  • Roll steak tightly. Make sure you are rolling it longways; when it's done cooking you want to be slicing it across the grain
  • Once rolled, tie it closed with kitchen twine. I tied it tightly in 5 places
  • Heat 2 tbsb olive oil in a large pan. Sear steak on each side until cooked. This took about 6 minutes
  • Add wine and bring to a boil
  • Add tomatoes
  • At this point you should be able to put the pan in the oven on 350, however my steak was so large that I decided to transfer it and all the juices to a large baking dish. Cover loosely with foil. Cook for 90 min, basting with the liquid every 30 min.
  • Once done, let it rest for a few minutes before removing the twine and slicing.

Here are some pictures of the raw rolled steak, the finished steak, and how it looked once sliced. SO good!!! I'd make it again, but next time I'd add some other flavors to the bread crumb mixture. I'd also use a thicker sauce along with the canned tomatoes.

Vegetable Beggar's Purses

Ingredients for 4 purses:

  • 2 cups chopped fresh vegetables. I used yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, carrots, celery, shiitake mushrooms, the white sections of bok choy (I know, not Italian but I had some in the fridge to use up) and 1 clove of garlic.
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano, salt, pepper
  • 2 tbsb freshly chopped parsley
  • 8 sheets of phyllo dough cut in half to give you 16 pieces (about 8x6 inches each)
  • Kitchen twine
  • Chives


  • Saute vegetables in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 15 minutes; add salt, pepper, and oregano (this step can be done a day or so in advance)
  • Lay one piece of phyllo dough on a cutting board, brush with oil. Top with another piece on an angle, brush with oil, and sprinkle with some parsley, salt, and pepper. Top with 2 more pieces of dough, brushing each one with oil.
  • Put a spoon full of the vegetable mixture in the center of the dough.
  • Pull sides up and twist to make a little purse. Tie closed with kitchen twine, brush with oil, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
  • Once all of the purses have been assembled, place them on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake on 350 for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Once done, remove the kitchen twine and tie with chives.

Since I sliced my thumb earlier in the day, I gave Jon the task of tying the purses with the chives. He didn't see why it was necessary, but aren't they pretty? I loved these - what a creative way to serve vegetables. There are endless possibilities to what you can put inside of these. I have some dough left so I'll probably do some experimenting this week.

Finally, my risotto balls with a grilled tomato aioli. My risotto ball recipe can be found here.

Grilled Tomato Aioli


  • 4 small tomatoes, grilled, then skins and seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp lime juice


  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Chill.
  • That's it!

The color was a bit funky (pink?), but the taste was great!!

We cooked for three and a half hours and washed dishes about 5 times in the process, but the food was worth it! Everything got rave reviews so I'm sure I'll be making each dish again!

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  1. amazing!! everything looks so delicious. looks like a fun and yummy day!

  2. Everything looks great. I love the beggars purses!

  3. MMM Everything was so good! And with the perfect weather, sitting on your deck with some wine, great food, and great company... such a nice relaxing night! I'm so glad I finally got to taste your famous risotto balls!!!!!!! (I have 4 leftover for later tonight, can't wait!)

  4. It was so nice sitting out there! We'll have to do it again before it gets cold.
    I still have a few risotto balls left too :)