Tuesday 28 June 2016

Rome’s Involtini di Manzo (Beef Rolls) from Tasting Rome.

This will be my last post before I enter into a blissful week of tropical summer where my hardest decisions will be whether I order a cocktail in a coconut or pineapple. I'm going on holidays!!! And I'm so excited. It's been 5 years since I've been on a proper 'hop-on-a-plane' holiday and the first time in 9 years going overseas with my other half. Thailand here we come baby!!

But before I disappear off cyber space for the next week I thought I'd share the dinner I made on Saturday night when the big chill decided to hit the east coast of Australia. My previous post must of jinxed it and Mother Nature thought 'I'll show her!' and let Jack Frost go mental on us all. So to warm our little footsies a hearty, carb filled, slow cooked dinner was on the cards with a glass of wine (or a bottle or two) for Saturday night.

Earlier in the week I read a blog post from 'Dinner: A Love Story' where guest blogger Katie Parla shared a recipe for Rome’s Involtini di Manzo (Beef Rolls) from her new book Tasting Rome who she wrote with Kristina Gill - I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy when I'm back. As soon as I read the post, I knew I had to make it this weekend, especially if it was going to be as cold as they were predicting. And it was. Jack Frost did not hold back although he didn't quite bring the snow to Sydney unfortunately.

Now I could tell you that the entire dinner went smoothly and I had no hiccups but then my nose would grow and quickly poke the laptop screen in front of me as I'd be telling you a fib. I blame the fact that there was a cheese plater and a bottle of really delicious bubbles that made me (kind of) forget about the involtino in tomato sauce blipping away that needed checking now and again to make sure it hadn't reduced too much or caught on the bottom. It was my nose that picked up on it before dinner ended up a total disaster. I could suddenly smell something and I instantly knew what it was, I've done this before you see. I had a 'Julie and Julia' moment when Julie Powell burns the stew... no no no no! I walked very quickly (I didn't want to cause alarm by running despite what instinct told me to do) over to the pot and lifted the lid. I had caught it just in time. I turned the heat off, didn't stir it and scooped the involtini out of the pan and the parts of the thick sauce which hadn't caught to the bottom of the pan yet and put it all in a new pot with about a cup of boiling water to save dinner. It worked...thank goodness!! Dinner was saved and even with my hiccup it tasted pretty darn delicious.

The recipe says 'cook once, eat twice' but I decided to serve the entire dish with spaghetti and serve it all together with the involtini sliced on top. It was delicious and the leftovers on Sunday night were just as good, if not even better.

I know I will make this again and again, I love pasta with tomato based sauces and any kind of slow cooked beef. Yum. It does take and hour and a half on the stove and YES it needs to be checked now and again to make sure it hasn't reduced too much or caught on the bottom of your pot. But then maybe don't try and consume half a bottle of bubbles and a cheese plate while cooking or at least set a timer if good wine and cheese distracts you as much as it does me.

It was a great way to spend a chilly Saturday night... great food and great company now bring on the cocktails and sun lounges. Laters!

Rome’s Involtini di Manzo (Beef Rolls)

Makes 6 involtini, plus about 2 cups sauce for pasta
From Tasting Rome, by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill

500g beef sizzle steaks or rump roast, cut into six equal thin slices
sea salt
6 thin slices prosciutto
1 carrot, julienned
1 celery stalk, julienned
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
800g can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper

- Lay the slices of beef flat on a chopping board and season with salt on both sides. Place 1 piece of prosciutto over each slice of meat, followed by 3 or 4 sticks each of carrot and celery at one short end of the meat. Roll the meat around the vegetables, forming a medium-tight involtino (roll). Using a couple of toothpicks inserted flush with the meat to keep the roll closed (or you can use kitchen twine).

- Heat the olive oil in a medium to small pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the involtini and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the rolls from the pan and set aside.

- Add the crushed garlic to the same pan and cook, stirring constantly until it just turns golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the canned tomatoes and wine and cook until the alcohol aroma dissipates, about a minute or two.

- When the sauce begins to simmer, add the involtini back to the pan. The meat should be mostly covered by the tomato sauce. Cook, covered, until the meat is fork-tender, about 1½ hours, checking occasionally (very important!!) to be sure the meat is at least two-thirds submerged and adding water if necessary.

- Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with spaghetti (like I did) or separately serving the sauce with pasta as an entree and the Involtini as a mail. Or allow the dish to rest in the refrigerator for up to three days to allow the flavours to develop - it's even better the next day!

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