Recipe: Farsumagru (Rolled Steak, Stuffed Sicilian Style)


Note: Farsumagru -- it's Sicilian for "false lean" -- is steak stuffed with meats, cheeses, eggs and vegetables and then rolled to look like a roast. When sliced it's absolutely beautiful. It's most commonly seen on buffet tables, served at room temperature, but it's terrific hot out of the roasting pan, the delicious meat juices drizzled over the slices. This recipe comes from Carlo Middione's "The Food of Southern Italy." Have a butcher butterfly the steak you buy (to facilitate pounding). If a large slice of meat in one piece is not available, get two slices of equal weight and proceed as described. There will then be two smaller rolls of meat, which many find more manageable than a single roll.

1 bunch spinach or Swiss chard

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 pounds round steak, or similar cut of beef, cut into single slice not more than 1/2-inch thick and butterflied

1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/4 pound ground veal, beef or pork

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Salt, pepper

2 large eggs

3 hard-cooked eggs

1 pound equal amounts various cold cuts and cheeses: salami, prosciutto, provolone or caciocavallo cheeses, cut in medium dice or julienne strips

1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

2 to 3 ounces pork fat, finely chopped

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup veal, beef or chicken broth, homemade preferred

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Remove hard stems from spinach, wash well and drain. Place spinach, with only wash water clinging to leaves, in medium saucepan. Gently cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove pan from heat and let spinach cool. Drain and squeeze to remove as much water as possible, then set aside. (Use water in soup, or as desired.)

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in saute pan. Add onion and saute until just golden. Remove from heat. Place in large bowl (must hold all filling later on).

Pound out steak slice (or slices) to 1/4-inch thickness with mallet or flat side of heavy cleaver. Do not tear meat.

Mix pecorino cheese, bread crumbs, ground veal and parsley in bowl with sauteed onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add raw eggs and mix again. Spread mixture evenly on pounded meat. Place hard-cooked eggs lengthwise, in row, on meat mixture. Scatter cold cuts and cheeses, peas, chopped pork fat and spinach evenly on top of ground-meat mixture and hard-cooked eggs. Roll meat tightly over stuffing into shape of log and tie with string in several places to secure during cooking.

Brown meat roll in large skillet in remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, turning often. When meat is browned, place in heat-proof casserole dish. Pour in wine and broth. Add tomato paste and stir liquids well to disperse paste. Bring liquid to boil, then immediately reduce to simmer. Finish cooking meat on top of stove on simmer, or in 350-degree oven, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turning meat often to baste with liquid. There should be about 1 cup liquid to use as sauce in dish, left in pan when meat is done.

Remove meat from casserole, let stand in warm place about 10 minutes, then remove string. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve on heated plates. Spoon on remaining pan juices. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 870 calories; 1,528 mg sodium; 319 mg cholesterol; 60 grams fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 57 grams protein; 0.56 gram fiber.