Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Involtini agli Spinaci

Sunday 26 August 2007

Jumping around the calendar, let's head a long way back in time to this dish taken from The Silver Spoon. I received this Italian classic as a birthday present last year and have cooked surprisingly few recipes from it. I'm not sure why this is, because it's packed with useful information and recipes that range from the basic to the more extravagant.

Involtini agli spinaci are small beef parcels stuffed with spinach, served with a tasty tomato sauce. The trick is to use a cut of beef you can batter out so that it's very thin - this way you can cook the parcels very quickly without drying them out. Otherwise they can be a little dry and tough. Alternatively, you can always slice them before serving - this way they will take up more of the sauce and the thin slices will seem more tender than one large, lumpy parcel.

To make the filling, take some spinach and wilt it. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Chop the spinach and then cook it in some melted butter (perhaps with a touch of chilli).

Pound your slices of beef until thin. Spread the spinach mix over the meat, top with some chopped carrot and grated parmesan (really, any cheese you fancy - the recipe specifies slices of Gruyère but we didn't have any). I also added a basil leaf. Roll up the beef into parcels and tie with string.

Heat olive oil and butter in a pan and add the parcels, browning them all over. Add a generous splash of dry white wine and cook until it evaporates. Next I added some chopped onion and a tin of tomatoes. Season and allow to cook down. Finally, add any remaining carrot, followed by any remaining spinach. You're then ready to serve! I served this with a very simple potato salad: some new potatoes, boiled, and then tossed with olive oil, garlic, parmesan and some sliced spring onions.
Obviously, this is a very versatile recipe - you could substitute pork, you can experiment with your fillings (perhaps some ricotta cheese added to the spinach), and you can play with the sauce (basil leaves and garlic being two obvious additions). It's not the quickest meal in the world to prepare, but beating the beef can also be very cathartic!

[Apologies for the blurry photographs - I must have forgotton to switch the camera to macro mode!]

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Blogger Ros said...

I've seen that name on menus before but I never got round to finding out what it was. Sounds delicious.

8:35 am  
Blogger Alex said...

Involtini seem to be made with a variety of meat - in the past I've had them made with chicken and I imagine veal would work just as well (if not better).

12:41 pm  

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