I'm a sucker for food surprises - chocolate cakes that hid a molten centre, chicken cordon bleu and its cheese and ham stuffing, Breads filled with chopped eggs and ham....and on and on and on.
This dish solidifies my love for the stuffed. And meat. And as you can imagine, it is Italian in every sense of the word.
Involtini in Italian means little bundles - it lends itself to many interpretations: parma ham stuffed with cheese and herbs and served as appetizers, small flat bits of steak filled with....cheese and spices too.
- Makes A large pan
1 piece of (aged) flank steak (Mine measured roughly 24cm by 16cm and was 3cm thick)
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (or plain breadcrumbs flavoured with tyme, dried onion powder or herb mix of your choice)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup basil leaves
Green of 1 spring onion/scallion, chopped/snipped
2 -4 dried red chillies, snipped (2 for the herb paste and 2 for the sauce)
Microplaned zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
100g freshly grated provolone
3 - 4 cups marinara or pepperoncino sauce
Salt and freshly crushed black pepper to taste
- PREPARE THE STEAK: Butterfly your piece of steak by slicing it across to create two pieces. Reserve one for another use. Wrap one piece in cling film and pound it with a meat mallet or rolling pin till it is flattened and increased in size by 1/2 - 2/3rds of the original and is less than 1cm thick
- MAKE THE HERB PASTE & FILLING: by combining the basil leaves, chopped spring onion, 2 chopped dried red chillies and garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle and pounding till a chunky paste results. In a large bowl combine the remaining Parmesan cheese with the provolone, herb paste, dried oregano and half of the quantity of olive oil, reserving the other half to cook the steak.
- PREPARE THE BREADCRUMBS: In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and 1/4 of the grated Parmesan cheese.
- MAKE THE ROLL: Spread the steak out on cling film, and season the inside with salt and black pepper, to taste. Make a sausage/place the herb paste - cheese stuffing along one length of the steak (cut the steak in half if it is easier to manage), then roll that, using the clingfilm to guide. Spread the breadcrumbs and gently roll the steak in the mixture till covered all over. Secure with skewers/toothpicks/kitchen string.
- COOK: In a medium - large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and when hot, add the steak(s) and brown for 8 - 10 minutes, ensuring the entire roll is bronzed. Add the marinara or pepperoncino sauce to the pan along with the remaining 2 dried chillies (broken) and bring to a simmer, ensuring the bottom is scraped and stirred. Simmer, stirring and turning occasionally (or it will burn) for an hour, or until the steak is cooked. If you think the sauce is getting too dry, add some water to thin, by the 1/2 cup.
- TO SERVE: remove the skewers and slice the meat. Serve with sauce and pasta or rice.