11/29/12

Braciole (Italian beef steak roll) Ninja Style!

Here’s one of my all time favorite recipes from our free weekly meal plans!

The flavors that are created by the slow simmering of beef, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce are just amazing. In fact, this exact same recipe makes my favorite pasta sauce, as well. Simply keep the slow cooker going another two hours, and then shred the braciole directly into the sauce and serve with your favorite pasta!

Oh, and if you’re one of the lucky folks who own a Ninja Cooking System, this entire recipe can be prepared in it! You’ll note that’s what I did, but I wrote the instructions for folks using a skillet and slow cooker.

Buon appetito!

Chef Perry

Braciole (Italian steak roll) with Caprese SaladBraciole (Italian steak roll) with Caprese Salad

Yield: 4 servings             
Active Time: 20 min.      
Total Time: 8 hr. 20 min.


  • 1 lb. beef round steak
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasonings*
  • 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 3 tbsp. parmigiano reggiano
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. rigatoni noodles
  • 1 cup low sodium tomato sauce

Special equipment: Butcher’s string

*I recommend Misculgio Italian Blend from Oil & Vinegar, see this post.


Mise en Place:

Thinly slice the garlic. Chop parsley. Chop the onion. Grate the Parmesan cheese.

Night Before or in the Morning:

Place the round steak between two sheets of plastic wrap (or inside a gallon zip-lock) and using a wooden mallet or rolling pin pound it until it’s about half as thin as it started out.

Braciole Italian beef roll recipe

Place the garlic slices evenly on the steak and using the mallet again, pound the garlic into the meat. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap onto your working surface and place the steak on it. Season with salt and pepper and add the Italian seasonings, parsley, onion and parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Roll up the steak like a jelly-roll, and tie it with a piece of cooking or butcher’s string at 4 to 5 places so that it stays rolled during cooking. If prepping in advance, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

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In the Morning:

Meanwhile, spread the tomato sauce over the bottom of your slow cooker and warm on low.

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Braciole Italian beef roll recipe Ninja Cooker

Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Sear the beef until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, then transfer to the warm sauce in the slow cooker. Roll the braciole a couple of times to cover the meat with sauce. Cook until the meat is very tender, 6 to 8 hours. Remove string/toothpicks before slicing.

Cook pasta according to package instructions and serve topped with 4 oz. of meat, per person, and sauce.

Caprese Salad (3b)

Yield: 2 servings              Active Time: 10 min.       Total Time: 10 min.


  • 2 vine-ripe tomatoes
  • 2 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • 15 leaves basil
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt & black pepper

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 –inch thick slices.  Layer, alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter

Drizzle the salad with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

10/1/12

Slow Cooker Pork and Sweet Potato Curry in the Ninja Cooking System

Ninja Cooking SystemFinally had a chance to use my newNinja Cookertonight. For those of you who don’t know, I attended Foodista’s 2012 International Food Bloggers Conference this  summer.

Euro-Pro unveiled the latest product in their Ninja Line, the Ninja 3-In-1 Cooking System, with a series of impressive cooking demonstrations: searing, roasting, baking, and slow cooking all in one unit. At the end of the demo, all of us attendees were pleasantly shocked to discover that we would be receiving one of the units, for free, upon its September release.

Obviously, we were all pretty excited! Especially me, as I took it upon myself to “grill” the presenters about this gizmo, and was pretty confident that it would turn some of my favorite dishes like pho, boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet, curries, etc…quicker and easier that before, and with less clean-up (which is key, until such time that my daughter is old enough to place into dish-washing servitude.)

So, tonight was my first test run, with an experimental recipe…peanut-pork and sweet potato curry. Couldn’t be happier with the results!

Got a great sear on the meat, onions caramelized beautifully, then switched over to the slow-cook option, and let ‘er sit 4 hours on high. Meat and potatoes came out fork tender but not mushy, broth reduced nicely, and (best of all) the whole thing cleaned up with a swish o’ hot water and a quick wipe with the sponge.

Seriously, no more baked-on crock-pot crud for this boy! Here’s the recipe and photos…enjoy!

(Oh, and thanks again to the awesome folks at Foodista and Ninja…I’m lovin’ this thing!)

Chef Perry



Slow Cooker Pork and Sweet Potato Curry.
Serves 4   Active Time: 20 Min    Total Time: 4 hrs 20 Min – 10 hrs 20 min.

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound bnls pork (shoulder or loin), cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp. mild curry powder
1 tbsp. garam masala
1/2 lb roma tomatoes, diced
15 oz can coconut milk
2 Tbs chunky peanut butter
2 cups jasmine rice, cooked.
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 scallion, sliced

Set the Ninja to “Stovetop High” and heat the oil (or heat oil to high in a large skillet.)

Ninja Cooking System Recipe

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Add half of the pork to the skillet and brown it over moderately high heat, about 12 minutes.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Ninja Cooking System Recipe

Transfer the pork to the plate. Repeat with the remaining pork.

Ninja Cooking System Recipe

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato,  ginger, curry, garam masala, and cook over low heat, stirring, until fragrant and the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Ninja Cooking System
Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker (skip this step if you have a Ninja, and just keep cookin’ baby!) Add the tomatoes and their juices, pork, and coconut milk.

Switch the Ninja over to “Slow Cook High”, cover and cook for 4 hour (or on low for 10.)

Ninja Cooking System
Spoon off as much fat from the surface of the curry as possible, stir in peanut-butter.

Serve 1/4 of the curry over steamed jasmine rice in deep bowls, garnished with cilantro and scallions.

Ninja Cooking System Recipe
This dish can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

NOTE: If you like a little (or a lot) of heat, add 1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes, or 1/2 of a habanero or scotch-bonnet pepper (seeded and chopped fine – WEAR GLOVES) while searing the meat.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry