Monday, March 8, 2010

Beef Rollatinis - a whirl of ingredients and winners of ABC Italiano

It's a truth that you may not think of something for twenty years but once you unlock one memory bank, other locks crumble and open. As I badger my mother with questions about Grandma and the family - I am hit by visions of the old Gresio kitchen. I smell aromas and respond to the sounds. I spend hours piecing memory waves together - what is memory? And what do I think I remember by virtue of the fact that I have heard the story so many times - I think I was there even if my mother assures me I was not.
`
While piecing and layering anecdotes and facts - wondering if immigration, cooking and Grandma could be a children's play, I receive an intriguing e-mail. A gentleman has started an Italian food import business of hard to find Italian foods and would I like to sample some of his products and report on them? Is it serendipity? Or do thing unfold in their own time?



"I am Scott Stegen. I recently opened a website selling imported Italian food products, focusing on rare and hard to find items, like bottarga and pane carasau among many others. I have many more new products coming in the next few weeks. You can see my site here:

http://www.sausagedebauchery.com/

May I send you some things?"

And suddenly I have: 2 bags(2kg) "00" flour, 1 250g bag fennel seeds, 1 250ml bottle vincotto, 1 jar of capers from Salina, 1 500g bag of farro perlato. Enough to have fun with. I have used the fennel seeds for making my own turkey sausage (well, sort of - I just add spieces to ground turkey). I can smell the fennel through the bag. Heaven.
`
For the beef rollatinis, I opened the vincotto - that is something I cannot find here. My mother is sending me a little jar so she can have some! And I use it sparingly - just for finishing. Is this me cooking? And I hungrily check his site for more ingredients. I know there is an order in the very near future. I know my mother would love a bottle of Vincotto.

We get our meat locally and because we buy in bulk, Bob Otis (a local farmer) throws in some extra cuts. He actually threw in a flat iron skirt steak - a cut rarely seen here. My mother is jealous. She hasn't seen that cut in decades. I slice it - about 3 inch wide stips.
`
Rollatini's are simple meat roll-ups. In Liguria you would use veal and have a simple cheese-bread crumb stuffing. In Lazio, beef is used and the stuffing is more savory. I love how every region in Italy has their own rollatini recipe. In Valle D'Aosta, the filling has brandy and cream. In Sardegna, it is a simple filling of lardo, herbs and garlic. In Piemonte, anchovy and tuna are the stars of the stuffing. Each province developed meals according to what the land and sea provided. The foraging of an earlier people has become the cuisine of today.


Beef Rollatini with Vincotto Glaze - serves 4
1-1/2 pounds flat iron skirt (can use a flank steak, tenderloin, sirloin - anything that can be pounded flat
1-2 tbl butter (I used Earth Balance)
salt and pepper to taste
Rollatini Stuffing
3 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup freshly shredded Fontina
4 oz favorite mushrooms, finely chopped (I used shiitake)
4 tbl fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
olive oil to coat a large skillet
Finishing Sauce
4 tbl Vincotto or a very good balsamic vinegar
(Note: Vincotto is not interchangeable with balsamic vinegar but a good balsamic also privdes a rich syrupy sauce for finishing meats)
The Vincotto is reduced by just a third. Although, it already is thick - I could warm it and serve it. As you drizzle it over the finished rollatnis, the aroma of the grape must is a time machine - and an airline ticket. You can smell the goodness of the past. You can breathe in the vineyards of Italy.
`
Beef Rollatini Preparation

Between sheets of waxed paper, pound your meat thin (1/4 inch). Put a thin layer of butter on the meat. It will help the stuffing adhere to it. Salt and pepper to taste. Moving along the width of the meat, cut it into three inch strips.
`
Combine your stuffing ingredients making sure all is minced. Spread it evenly atop the meat pressing to adhere the stuffing to the beef. Roll the beef and secure with a toothpick. (Can do ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
`
Cover the bottom of your skillet or pot with oil and heat till sizzling. Drop the rollatinis in the pot and brown all over. Turn with tongs to ensure even cooking. The beef takes 6-10 minutes to cook. Six minutes will be rare to medium-rare beef and 12 minutes will be medium well to well-done. Remove from pan and let rest 3-4 minutes.

In a small fry pan, add your vincotto or balsamic vinegar. Heat to a boil and reduce 1/3. You should have a sweet syrupy glaze. Drizzle over rollatinis and serve.


I may brown them oil and bake them next time.


A few serve as an entree. Or use them as an appetizer. Change the cheese, change the herbs - make it suit your tastes and your ingredinets - just as the Italians do.
`
As I think of my famiglia from my past, I also smile at my family today. My firstborn's birthday is tomorrow. The young man who had the hard task of teaching me to be a mother. I read the books, I went to early childhood classes, but you know, this guy as an infant had a lot to tell me, to show me. A lot of understanding motherhood came from being a mother. Sometimes it was easy and sometimes it took time.

But he stuck with me. I remember sitting at his college graduation last spring - so proud - that I didn't cry. I did not dissolve into puddles. I controlled all those lumps and butterflies. Until of course he told me to check Facebook as soon as I arrived home. He would have photos of the day there. Of course, I did. I went straight to his page - and there he was - in his cap and gown with the title:"All Growed Up." And that's when I melted. And so he is - "all growed up." I wrote about it. Tomorrow we will celebrate that.
`
And to end, I am the proud recipient of 10 wonderful ABC Italiano books and while some are earmaked for the Italian Cultural Center in Minneapolis and children's charities and preschools, three of them are for you: Fresh, Local and Best, Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice and Mocha Me. Please e-mail me your address and I shall get them out to you quickly. Thanks to Joe at Italyville.com for providing these charming books and to all of you. Most people develop a love of language and reading on someone's lap. It's the best way to learn.

41 comments:

Juliana said...

First congratulations to the winners. Your beef dish looks so yummie, my mouth is watering at the pictures. The sauce looks a great compliment to the dish.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

First of all, your rollatini sound and look great. How wonderful that you got all those products to play with. Second, Happy Birthday to your son. You can feel the motherly tenderness coming through in your words. And congrats to the winners of the baby books. I'm about to announce my winners tomorrow. (Yikes it's today - sleepless in Princeton)

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Reading your blog is always an education Claudia - thank you for another enlightening lesson on food and life!

pegasuslegend said...

wow great place to shop I will truly love it, actually order all my stuff online from Utica NY. Love the proprieitors I left behind. As usual your food looks fabulous, never had rolitini, looked like braciole but not familiar with it all the same it looks fabulous...a nice assortment and lucky you!

Wanda said...

Happy Birthday to your "All Growed Up Son"!!!

Wish you were cooking that meal for me, Claudia!

Antonietta said...

What a lovely post! Your memories make me reflect on my own.
The meat looks delicious and that sauce!! To-die-for!

Thanks for sharing this!


ps- how did I not know you were in Minneapolis?

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Your stuffed beef looks incredible! What a mouth-watering filling. So happy for you to get all those goodies. Enjoy cooking with them! And thanks so much for the book - I'm thrilled!XO

Vrinda said...

I never tasted Rollatini ,my hubby will lov it..looks gr8,nice pics....

5 Star Foodie said...

The beef rollatini looks very yummy and such awesome products you got! Happy birthday to your son!

Choices said...

Hi Claudia,
So very true about stories that you have heard. I can remember stories that my mother has told me over and over again about things in my childhood, and yes like you, I think I was there.
Another yummy recipe. Can you use chicken instead of beef?
Your son is very handsome. Children grow up so fast. You must be very proud of him.

Claudia said...

Rollatinis are very good with chcken - also good with eggplant! I love the versatility of the dish.

Ruth said...

Choke! You really brought tears to me eyes when you described your experience with your soon. I can relate to it one hundred per cent! Also its so true what you say about the different foods within the different regions in Italy! Let me know if there is anything you would like from Emilia Romagna! Gorgeous, gorgeous meat dish!!!

joe@italyville.com said...

happy birthday to your son and congrats to the winners!

Mary said...

First, birthday wishes for your firstborn. I hope he has a wonderful birthday. I also want you to know how much I love this kind of food and this recipe in particular. It is very welcoming and invites strangers to a seat at your table. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Fresh Local and Best said...

This was quite a nice post of reflection and heritage. Vincotto sounds just heavenly paired with rollatinis, which are one of my favorite dishes of all time. Your beef rollatini recipe looks wonderful!

My name is PJ. said...

Wow, this is some serious cooking going on here! It looks so delicious! My mouth is watering!

Table Talk said...

Hard to go wrong with an ingredient line up like this one; looks/sounds fantastic!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Congratulations, Claudia, on being chosen to try those wonderful Italian imports, and the happiest of birthdays to your handsome son!

Your rollitini look absolutely delicious! I haven't made rollitini is a long time and now I can't wait to make them again and add a vincotto sauce. My father-in-law used to press his own grapes to make wine and I remember his wonderful home made vincotto.

sweetlife said...

what a wonderful dish..it looks amazing. I love reading your post, so warm and full of love.

sweetlife

Bridgett said...

Wow, what a gorgeous thick sauce for the rollatini. I could easily get used to having that for dinner. Happiest Birthday to your firstborn. Enjoy the special day.

janet said...

Lucky you, such wonderful products to use! There is a wonderful little italian market near me, which I love to haunt, they always have unusual things:)
Happy birthday to your handsome son, as usual, you brought tears to my eyes with your touching words.

Kim said...

The rollatini look amazing. I like the idea of using the butter to get the seasonings to stick.
Your son is very handsome and you have every right to be a proud mom! I loved that you said "The young man who had the hard task of teaching me to be a mother." I feel the same way about my oldest. The firstborn really does teach us how to be a parent. You have a wonderful way with words Claudia!

Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog said...

I'm a beef man so this dish is heavenly for me. Although, my country has a strong Italian cuisine never tried beef Rollatini ;-)

Congrats to the winners!

Cheers,

Gera

theUngourmet said...

I love all of the cheeses going on in here and this finishing sauce is fantastic! Oh how I would like this for my dinner tonight!

Happy Birthday to your son! :)

Jen_from_NJ said...

Happy Birthday to your son! What a sweet post.

Your beef rollatini looks delectable!

gaga said...

Yum, those look fantastic! I especially love the versatility.

OysterCulture said...

Wow, what a case of serendipity. How neat was that to get that box. I'd heard about his site and had it book marked - it came highly recommended and your pictures of the products look grand!

What a great story about your son and how special that you will celebrate. Congratulation on raising him well ad having him all growed up!

Chow and Chatter said...

oh I bet your an awesome mummy, and wow can you cook love this

Sophie said...

What a lovely & great post this is!!

Congrats to the winners! Yeah!

This celebrating dish looks so special & so superb too!

What a grand story on your son!!

Barbara GF said...

Your rollatini remind me of my Mom's braciole, which she used to make and then put in the big pot of tomato sauce for Sunday supper.
Lovely post about your son, Claudia; a belated happy birthday.
And, yay!, for the "ABC Italiano" books; our local Italian center will enjoy them, too.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Lovely post about the past reflections. Congratulations to the winner. Happy birthday to your son.

I love the sauce in this dish. Yum.
Sam

Angie's Recipes said...

Beef Rollatini look so heavenly! The glaze is like an icy on the cake!

My Little Space said...

Beef is not my kind of stuff but I would love to try lamb instead. Don't they look delicious! yummm....

figtree said...

What a nice story, and what a hunk your son is!!

Danyell said...

What a nice post....congratulations to your son (and you....way to go, Mom!!!). I agree with the love of reading....I remember walking to the library, much before I ever started school, with my mom and I swear that I can still "smell" the books....

Danyell said...

What a nice post....congratulations to your son (and you....way to go, Mom!!!). I agree with the love of reading....I remember walking to the library, much before I ever started school, with my mom and I swear that I can still "smell" the books....

Danyell said...

What a nice post....congratulations to your son (and you....way to go, Mom!!!). I agree with the love of reading....I remember walking to the library, much before I ever started school, with my mom and I swear that I can still "smell" the books....

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Hi, this is my 1st time here, your dish look so mouth watering, will come here more often to check what you cook..

Miranda said...

Your son is so handsome.
The dishes look fantastic. Well done.

pegasuslegend said...

BTW when you get a chance stop by my blog :)
http://pegasuslegend-whatscookin.blogspot.com/2010/03/sunshine-award.html

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is a scrumptious looking dish! A great way of preparing skirt steak.

Cheers,

Rosa