Sicilian Stuffed Beef Roll: Farsumagru

Sicilian Stuffed Beef Roll:  Farsumagru

Farsumagru or falsomagro is a large stuffed meat roll cooked in a tomato based sauce or in a broth with white wine.  It is also called bruciuluni – a larger version of bruciola (braciola).  Farsumagu can be made with beef or veal.  It is usually stuffed with seasoned bread crumbs, pine nuts, currants, and thin slices of cold cuts such as mortadella, prosciutto, pancetta, ham, and salami.  Some cooks also add sausage meat, ground beef or veal, salami, pieces of lard, peas, and carrots.  It’s also traditional to put whole hard boiled eggs in the middle.  It makes for a great presentation when sliced.  As you can see from my photos, the hardboiled eggs are not pictured.  That’s because I’m not a fan of hardboiled eggs in farsumagru.  But if you like hard boiled eggs then feel free to add them in.  I usually serve this dish with either papparadelle or mostaccioli.

SICILIAN STUFFED BEEF ROLL:  FARSUMAGRU

Difficulty Rating:  Medium
Makes 8 servings.

For the Toasted Breadcrumb Filling:
1/2 large medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and pepper

For the Meat Roll:
1 (2 pound) round steak, about 1-inch thick, butterflied
9 -12 thin slices mortadella
1/3 pound thinly sliced prosciutto or ham
3/4 cup diced caciocavallo or provolone cheese
4 large eggs, boiled for 8 minutes (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Sauce:
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1(6-ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 cup dry red or white wine
1(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 sprig fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram or rosemary (optional)
2 to 2 1/2 cups homemade beef or chicken stock, or water
Salt and pepper

Special Equipment Needed:  Butcher’s twine, a 4-inch deep by 12-inch covered skillet or large Dutch oven

1. MAKE THE TOASTED BREADCRUMB FILLING:  Heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the remaining oil and breadcrumbs.  Reduce heat to low and cook, continuously stirring until breadcrumbs are toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes.  Stir in the cheese, parsley, currants, and pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. PREPARE THE MEAT ROLL:  Place the steak on a flat surface and cover with plastic wrap.  Using a flat meat mallet, pound the meat to a 1/4-inch thick rectangle, measuring approximately 9 by 12-inches.  Be careful not to tear the meat.

Place a layer of prosciutto and a layer of mortadella on top of the meat.  Spread the toasted breadcrumb mixture on top leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.  Scatter the cheese on top.  If using hard boiled eggs, cut off the ends and place them end-to-end along the short edge of the meat roll.  Starting with the short end closest to you, carefully roll the meat up jelly roll style.

Tie with butcher’s twine at 1-inch intervals along the width.  Tuck the ends in and tie along the length of the meat roll to secure the filling.

3.COOK THE MEAT ROLL:  Heat the oil in the skillet or Dutch oven over high heat.  Add the meat and brown 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer the meat roll onto a plate.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add the onion and cook for 6 minutes, until tender.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in the tomato paste and gradually add the wine.  Stir in the crushed tomatoes, basil, parsley, bay leaf, marjoram, and beef stock.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Add the meat roll and cover with lid.  Cook over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turning the meat over and stirring about every 30 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.  Transfer meat to a large platter, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.  Remove the twine and slice the meat roll into 1-inch pieces.  Spoon some of the sauce on top and serve with pasta or noodles.

MAKE AHEAD:  The meat roll can be prepared several hours ahead of time or the night before and refrigerated.  Allow the meat roll to come to room temperature 30 minutes before browning.

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