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RAGU
Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups bread cubes (1/2-inch), cut from day-old bread with crusts removed
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped coarse
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
2 pounds beef bottom round, cut into 12 slices, each about 1/2 inch thick
12 slices Prosciutto di Parma (about 6 ounces)
1/4 pound imported provola or provolone cheese, cut into 1/4-by-1/4-inch sticks
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions (about 8 ounces), chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 (35-ounce) canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Water as needed
Salt
Crushed red pepper

Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the bread cubes and let soak
until the bread is very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze out excess
milk from the bread cubes with your hands and return the bread to
the bowl. Stir in the chopped eggs, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano,
raisins, pine nuts and garlic. Mix well and set aside.

With the toothed side of a heavy meat mallet, pound each slice of
beef round to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Arrange one of the
pounded meat slices in front of you with one of the short sides
(if there is one) closest to you. Top with a slice of prosciutto
and tap the prosciutto with the back side of a knife so it adheres
to the beef.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the stuffing over the prosciutto, leaving
a 1-inch border around the edges. Place a stick of provolone
crosswise over the edge of the stuffing closest to you. Fold the
border closest to you over the provolone, then fold the side borders
in to overlap the edges of the stuffing. Roll into a compact roll.
Secure the end flap with a toothpick. Proceed to finish all, then
season the rolls with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy casserole over medium
heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is
wilted, about 5 minutes. Add as many of the braciole as will fit
in a single layer and cook, turning the braciole as necessary,
until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes. If necessary, repeat
with any remaining braciole.

Meanwhile, empty the tomatoes into a bowl and squeeze them with
your hands until coarsely crushed.

If necessary, return all the braciole to the casserole. Pour the
wine into the casserole, bring to a boil and cook until most of
the wine has evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Add tomato paste and bay leaves and stir until the paste is dissolved.
Adjust the heat to simmering and cook, adding water as necessary
to keep the braciole completely submerged, until the beef is tender,
about 3 hours.

Remove the toothpicks before serving. The braciole can be prepared
up to 2 days in advance, then reheated over low heat until heated
through.

NOTE: The slices of beef should measure about 4 to 5 inches on each
side before pounding. To obtain pieces of the right size, look for
-- or ask your butcher to cut -- six 1/2-inch-thick slices from a
whole bottom round, then cut those slices crosswise into two pieces.

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