New recipes and updates

Get new recipes
in your inbox

Cuisine Fiend

Find a recipe by ingredient

Pork braciole in tomato sauce

Sat, 4 December, 2021

Braciole di maiale, pork roulades from Naples, are tender like pulled pork, flavoursome like meatballs and saucy like tomatoes. And there’s cheese!

pork braciole in tomato sauce

What are braciole?

Braciole are an Italian meat dish of pork cutlets rolled up around herb and breadcrumb stuffing, cooked in tomato sauce. They can also be made with beef, or veal or chicken. They don’t have to be cooked in the sauce, or stuffed. In fact, braciole can refer to simple and plain pork chops as well. Or beef. Or veal.

That sounds awfully confusing until we realise that ‘braciola’ (pl. braciole) means ‘chop’ in Italian. How many different kinds of chops can you think of in English? Exactly.

This recipe then needs only a little more wording to be accurate: braciole involtini ripieni di maiale al sugo di pomodoro, or rolled and stuffed pork braciole in tomato sauce. Either way it’s quite a mouthful. Thank heavens for regional dish names then – we can find exactly what we need as ‘braciole napoletane’!

That is also what is commonly understood as braciole in Italian-American cuisine (aka ‘off The Sopranos’) and in the Australian-Italian cucina. Pork, flattened and rolled up, filled with herb stuffing alla porchetta and cooked slow and low in tomato sauce.

And that’s where I get my recipe from: New York Times Cooking, and Frankies Spuntino restaurant.

braciole napoletane al sugo

What cut of pork for braciole?

As varied as the recipes for braciole can be, there is also flexibility about which cut of pig is going to be flattened, rolled etc. Some people will definitely go for the leanest loin, trimming any fat like lipo surgeons. But it is wrong, so wrong, on many levels.

First off, it’s both hard and pointless to mallet down pork loin slices. It’s a noble cut which should be cooked similar to a steak.

Secondly, all fat trimmed means it’s going to be dry, dry, dry, no matter how much tomato sauce you throw into the pan.

Finally – so expensive! braciole is a family Sunday dish, served to a multitude, hearty and heart-warming instead of posh and pricy.

My choice is pork shoulder, specifically the neck (or collar) end which is beautifully marbled with clean white fat; very malleable to the mallet and, cooked long enough, turns into the tenderest almost-pulled meat.

braciole di maiale

How to make braciole, Neapolitan style?

There is a bit of work involved there but it’s all quite simple. The meat, bought already sliced or cut into chops at home, about an inch thick, needs to be flattened with a mallet or a rolling pin until it’s half as thick, pliable and spread out over the chopping board.

As ever, season the meat with salt as early as you can, up to a couple of days ahead.

The filling is usually made with herbs, garlic and breadcrumbs, like for porchetta, the big roast version of braciole. I have seen recipes for braciole stuffed with prosciutto or raisins and pine nuts, olives or even eggs, but I like to think my (and Frankies’) option is more classical.

The cheese is Italian provolone, but Gouda or Cheddar will work as well. It’s all going to leak out anyway as it always does but the flavour will permeate into the meat and the melted cheese will enhance the sauce.

As all braised meats, braciole need searing in the frying pan first, before being dunked into tomato-onion sauce and baked in the oven for a longish spell. But if you have an ovenproof pan with a lid, brown the meat straight in it before pouring over tomato sauce.

how to make italian braciole

What to serve with braciole?

The Neapolitan point of cooking the meat in the sauce is to flavour it; and the point of the sauce is to, of course, dress the pasta.

So for the sumptuous Sunday lunch in Naples you would expect the braciole, possibly together with other cuts of meat like pork ribs or meatballs, to be cooked in the sauce for hours but not served all at once.

Primo, Italian first course is pasta: rigatoni or penne, dressed with the meat flavoured tomato sauce. The meat itself however, the braciole and company, are served as secondo, the main course – on their own, barely dressed with whatever sauce clings to them, only with a handful of rocket or a crust of bread on the side.

If that is a strange way of serving food to you, dish it all out at the same time by all means – I do. With that green rocket but without the bread.

pork braciole braised in tomatoes

More Italian meat course recipes

One of the classics, easy to prepare and yet not as popular in the UK as it should be: osso buco, shin of veal cooked until meltingly tender.

Pasta dishes must not be discussed without mentioning the traditional meat sauce for pasta: ragu.

And porchetta is really one giant braciola, stuffed with herbs, rolled and roasted. I use the same cut of meat for it, pork shoulder, except a whole joint.

pork stuffed roulades braciole

More pork recipes

Do you agree that the cheapest cuts are the best? If not, you must try oven braised pork ribs.

Slow and low or hot and quick, that’s the only two ways with pork shoulder steaks. The latter, with sage butter, are ready in about 20 minutes.

From the less-known cuisines come Haitian pork griot: twice cooked chops usually served with pickles.

Pork braciole in tomato sauce

Servings: 4Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Rating: (1 reviews)


  • 500g (1 pound) pork shoulder, boneless and trimmed
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • ½ bunch of parsley
  • 20g (1½ tbsp.) grated Parmesan plus more for serving
  • 100g (3 oz.) mature Provolone cheese
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil


1. Slice the pork shoulder into cutlets about 2-3cm thick. If possible, sprinkle the meat with salt on both sides as early as you can, up to 2 days.

pork chops

2. Spread the cutlets on the chopping board and flatten with a mallet on both sides, so they are half as thick. Season with white pepper.

3. Peel all the cloves of garlic and grate or press 2 large ones; leave the others whole. Finely chop the parsley.

preparing braciole

4. Spread some garlic puree on each cutlet, sprinkle generously with parsley, Parmesan and cover with slices of Provolone. Roll up each braciola tightly and secure with a meat pin or tie up with kitchen string.

rolling up braciole

5. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3.

6. Peel the onion and chop it finely or blitz in a food processor. Prepare an ovenproof casserole dish with a lid, large enough to fit the braciole in a single layer. Pour in the tomatoes, add the onion and stir together.

onion and tomato sauce

7. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Brown the braciole on all sides and transfer to the sauce. Fry the whole garlic cloves in the same frying pan until golden. Add a splash of water to the pan to deglaze and pour with the garlic cloves into the braciole dish. Make sure they are almost submerged in the sauce.

searing braciole

8. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours until the meat is perfectly tender.

9. Serve with the tomato sauce and extra Parmesan.

NEW recipe finder

Ingredients lying around and no idea what to cook with them? Then use my NEW Recipe Finder for inspiration!

Recipe Finder

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published

Characters left 800
Recipe rating
Email address*
Web site name
Be notified by email when a comment is posted

* required

Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Thank you Paulette - it is lovely with pork.
3 years ago
Love this meal . great change from beef
3 years ago

Cuisine Fiend's

most recent

About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


Sign up to receive the weekly recipes updates

Follow Fiend