The first time I had these traditional Sicilian rolls was in a small Italian restaurant just off the main drag in Camps Bay. The moment I saw them on the menu I knew I had to have them. Not only did they sound utterly delicious, but just saying the dish’s name out-loud when ordering it made me feel thoroughly Italian!
Sadly, in spite of its gloriously evocative name, I was actually less than thrilled with the meal, albeit it has been suggested that I should never eat out given my propensity for disappointment. Nevertheless, in spite of my culinary chagrin, I was convinced that the dish still had merit and that it was worth trying to recreate at home. After some obsessing and research, I eventually attempted my own involtini and I’m pleased to say that they didn’t disappoint!
Whilst there are a myriad of versions of involtini out there, this particular recipe is very much typical of the involtini from the Sicilian capital Palermo. Loaded with ingredients such as toasted pine nuts, raisins, onion, bay leaf and pecorino, these rolls are wonderfully aromatic. Another filling option is to include some pepperoni, as they do in the region around Catania. Given the wide range of regional variations, feel free to play around with the filling – chances are it will still be delicious!
With regards to what to serve with your involtini, I would recommend pairing them with some Swiss chard sautéed with a few mushrooms, some garlic and a splash of white wine or vermouth. Add a few slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and you’ll have a veritable feast!
For more Italian Classics from The Muddled Pantry, please click here
Involtini Di Vitello Alla Siciliana: Makes 6 rolls (Feeds 2)
- 6 thin slices of veal steak
- Olive oil, for brushing
- 8 Fresh Bay Leaves
- 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
- Ingredients for the filling
- 50g raisins
- 150g pecorino cheese
- 50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 150g breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Soak the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes, after which drain thoroughly
- Sauté the finely diced red onion in 2 tbsp. of the olive oil. Fry until soft
- In a food-processor, finely chop the cheese
- Place the cheese in a bowl along with the breadcrumbs, toasted pine nuts, drained raisins and cooked red onion
- Add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil and mix thoroughly. Set the filling aside
- Using either a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the veal steaks. Do this by placing the meat between two sheets of cling-wrap and then gently beating it. Remember to place the slices of meat slightly apart from each other on the cling-wrap, as they will spread as they are beaten
- Brush the flattened meat with some olive oil
- Divide the filling between the 6 slices of veal
- Starting from the narrowest end, roll the meat up
- Take a “petal” of red onion, a bay leaf and veal roll – skewer onto a bamboo stick. Continue skewering in that order, until you have 3 veal rolls on the stick. End with a final bay leaf and onion.
- Give everything a final brush of olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper (bear in mind that the cheese is already quite salty)
- Place a griddle pan on a very high heat. Add the skewers and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through
- The skewers can also be cooked on a barbeque