Stuffed Turkey Roll: Rotolo di Tacchino


Making a stuffed turkey breast roll is a good way of celebrating the holidays without having to make a whole turkey and the eating leftovers for a week.  Some of us can only handle eating turkey for two days max.  Constructing a turkey breast roll is not as difficult as you might think.  It’s relatively easy and makes for an impressive presentation.  It also takes way less time to roast than a whole turkey – freeing up precious oven space for all the other tasty dishes you’ll be serving.

Turkey breast tends to be dry and bland.  I like to add extra moisture to the turkey by replacing the skin of the breast with pancetta.  Pancetta is Italian bacon that is not smoked.  The pancetta becomes crisp as it bakes, and the rendered fat helps to moisten and add flavor to the meat and drippings.  This recipe makes enough for a family of four.  You can easily double the recipe and make two rolls for a larger crowd.


Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.

1 (2-pound) boneless, skinless, turkey breast half, butterflied
6 to 10 slices mild provolone cheese
4 to 6 slices of ham
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 to 8 slices pancetta
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or white wine
Olive oil or vegetable oil for greasing pan
Butcher’s twine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan with olive oil.

Spread the turkey breast open and place on a flat surface.  Cover the top with a piece of plastic wrap, and pound with a mallet to ½-inch thickness.  Discard the plastic wrap.

Season the top with salt and pepper.

Arrange the ham slices on top, then lay the slices of provolone on top of the ham within 1/2-inch of the edges.  Scatter half of the sage leaves on top of the provolone.

Combine the remaining sage and rosemary in a small bowl.

Starting from the bottom of the inner half of the breast (the top half of the breast has a smooth surface), roll the breast up in a jelly roll fashion into a cylinder.

The smooth top half of the breast should be on top.  Rub the top of the breast roll with 1 teaspoon of oil.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with half of the herb mixture.

Layer the pancetta slices along the top of the roll.

Cut 4 to 5 pieces of butcher’s twine 12-inches in length.  Slide them under the bottom of the breast roll crosswise at 1-inch intervals along the length of the roll.  Tie the pieces around the roll and trim the loose ends close to each knot.

Turn the turkey roll over, rub with remaining oil, season with salt, pepper and remaining herbs.

Place the turkey roll pancetta side up on the baking pan.  Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup wine to the bottom of the roasting pan.  Continue cooking 50 – 60 minutes longer, until a meat thermometer inserted in the middle of the thickest part reads 160 degrees F.  Pour the chicken stock onto the bottom of the pan the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Remove from the oven and allow the turkey to rest for 10 minutes.  Transfer the turkey roll to a serving platter.  Stir the pan drippings, scrapping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and pour into a small bowl.  To serve the turkey roll, remove the twine and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch thick slices.  Serve along with the pan juices.

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