Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday Supper on the East Coast

The table set for Sunday Supper
I'd never get tired of talking about it, but you might get sick of hearing about it - so I thought I'd take a break from all the trip stuff with this week's Sunday Supper. We enjoyed this meal in Virginia, where it was nice and cool all weekend. Well, actually, it was pretty warm on Sunday - but we pretended it was still Saturday, when it rained so hard two inches of water flooded the cafe at Dean and Deluca in Georgetown.
Brian's Buffalo Braciole
Sunday Supper
October 26, 2008


Buffalo Braciola with Marinara
Creamy Polenta with Gorgonzola Cheese
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Root Vegetables

Junior's Cheesecake

Roasted Root Veg and Brussel Sprouts
It was a hearty meal, based on one Brian's grandmother cooked for his Italian family. For Braciola, the meat, usually flank steak, is rolled around a stuffing, browned, and then simmered in marinara sauce until tender. Brian used Giada di Laurentiis' recipe as a jumping off point, substituting Buffalo from the local farmers' market. The vegetables are tossed with a simple mix of oil and herbs, and roasted under high heat in the oven until softened and caramelized. With this we enjoyed a phenomenal Malbec from Argentina, and for dessert we had cheesecake I brought down from New York. Antipasti picked up at Whole Foods the day before took the edge off before dinner. Brian is not only a great cook but a terrific mixologist, so we spent much of the rest of the weekend sipping finely made cocktails in front of the fireplace.
The table setting

Braciola with Marinara and Creamy Polenta with Gorgonzola Cheese
This entire dish from start to finish is a lot of work for one day - Brian had made his sauce ahead of time, frozen it in a plastic bag, and thawed it in a pot of water before using it. If anything, this improves the flavor of the sauce, so it's a great idea if you have the time.

For the Braciola:

2/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup grated Provolone cheese
1/2 cup dried Italian style bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove minced
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 flank steak
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground bkac pepper
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/4 cups Marinara Sauce

Stir the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak as for a jelly roll to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the marinara sauce. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.

Marinara Sauce

1/2 Cup Extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

Directions:In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. (The sauce can be made a day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Basic Polenta

6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

Gorgonzola Polenta

Basic Polenta Recipe (above) freshly made
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 ounces Gorgonzola Cheese, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Add the cream, Gorgonzola and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to the freshly made polenta while it is still in the saucepan and stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. (Polenta sets up if allowed to sit - leftovers are great fried in a skillet with a little oil.)


  1. never commented before..but just love love love your blog!!

  2. That looks to die for...if only it weren't 85 degrees here! Seriously...very hunger-inducing photo, need to try this recipe on a Sunday when the weather cools.

  3. Caroline - Thanks! That's so nice of you.

    Pam - I KNOW. Can you believe it? I am at a total loss for what to cook the rest of this week. I'm so over salads, but what else do you make when it's 90 degrees in the kitchen?

  4. your whole meal looks delicious..especially the roasted root veggies...YUM. I also love polenta.

  5. I've made Giada's Braciola recipe, but never tried pairing it with the polenta. That sounds even better.