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You roll up sausage, cheese, spinach inside flank steak.

Flank steak--split open, stuffed, and rolled--is the basis of a flavorful braised dish the Italians call braciola. This is a loose extension of the actual definition of the word, which means cutlet, and comes from the way the steak is handled.

Slices of the cooked meat have a pinwheel pattern, with Swiss cheese and Italian sausage links in the center. As the meats cook, their juices flavor the tomato-wine sauce. To serve, pour the sauce over hot spaghetti, then arrange sliced meat on top. Accompany with a green salad.

You can shape the meat roll a day ahead. Brown the roll in oil, then simmer to tenderness. Serve braciola for a family supper or casual company dinner. Sausage and Cheese Braciola 1 large (about 1-3/4 lb.) flank steak 3/4 pound spinach 4 Italian sausage links (about 1 lb. total) 6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed 2 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil Tomato sauce (recipe follows) 3/4 cup dry red wine Salt 1 pound dried pasta such as spaghetti or long macaroni Water About 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Trim and discard fat from flank steak. To butterfly, lay steak flat and, with a sharp knife, split meat horizontally from a long side, leaving the opposite edge intact; fold half of meat back to open out the steak. Place meat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with the flat side of a mallet until thickness is uniform.

Discard stems and coarse leaves from spinach; rinse and drain tender leaves.

Cook sausages in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, turning, until well browned on all sides; remove from pan. Discard all but 1 tablespoon drippings. Add spinach to pan; cover and cook over medium-high heat until leaves wilt, about 1 minute; stir, then remove from heat.

To assemble, discard top piece of plastic wrap on steak. Distribute spinach evenly over steak to within 1-1/2 inches of edges. Lay cheese slices in a single layer in center of meat, then sprinkle with fennel.

Starting at a narrow edge, place sausages parallel and in two rows, aligning them with grain of meat (trim sausage ends to fit within steak, if needed). Roll steak around sausages into a tight cylinder. Using heavy string, tie roll lengthwise, tucking ends of meat into center. Then tie roll crosswise as shown at right. If made ahead, cover and chill up to overnight.

Pour oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan (wide enough to hold roll) over medium heat. When oil is hot, add meat and brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes. Turn meat seam side up and pour tomato sauce and wine around it; add salt to taste. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender when pierced, about 2 hours. Lift meat out and let stand about 10 minutes to firm. Skim fat off tomato sauce and keep sauce warm. Snip off string, then cut roll into 6 to 8 slices.

Meanwhile, cook pasta, uncovered, in 4 quarts boiling water until tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well, then arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle with about 1/3 of the tomato sauce and top with sliced meat. Offer remaining sauce and cheese to spoon onto individual servings of braciola and pasta. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tomato Sauce. Stir together 1 large can (28 oz.) tomato puree, 1 cup water, 1 clove garlic (minced or pressed), and 1 teaspoon each dry basil, dry oregano leaves, sugar, and pepper.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipe
Date:Nov 1, 1984
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