Sicilian Veal Involtini or rolls, or spiedini. Whichever way you call them, you have to try them! These little bundles of deliciousness are one of the best things I tasted in Sicily and I finally got around to recreating them in my kitchen. Most of you are probably familiar with braciole which are similar rolls cooked in tomato sauce. You know what I mean, the typical Sunday lunch sauce with the meatballs, ribs, sausages, and sausages. While I do enjoy braciole in tomato sauce, I love these involtini even more!
Variations of Sicilian involtini are served all over Sicily. They can be made with veal, beef or even swordfish. The filling may include prosciutto and pine nuts and they are usually rolled in breadcrumbs. The basic filling includes breadcrumbs made from fresh bread, raisins, garlic, parsley and shredded caciocavallo cheese which is the standard in Sicily. They are always skewered and either baked or grilled.
I sampled these little involtini encrusted in pistachio nuts instead of breadcrumbs while I was in Capo D’Orlando this summer (you can read about that here). I then proceeded to purchase a bag of chopped pistachios or granella di pistacchio in order to try making this recipe at home. If you purchase whole pistachios I would recommend pulsing them a few times in your food processor. If you over grind them they will turn to pistachio powder.
The pistachios add a nice crunch to the exterior. As for the filling, each time you bite into a piece of raisin you get that delicious unexpected sweetness. This is perfectly balanced with the saltiness of the caciocavallo and the freshness of the parsley.
They are a bit of an undertaking to make, but well worth the effort. The filling comes together in minutes. Next, the veal scallopini need to be pounded with a meat mallet until quite thin. Be careful here not to pound the meat so much that it tears or it will be difficult to roll. I cut each piece of veal into two or three squares, depending on the size of the slices. Each square is approximately ten centimeters long. Be sure to leave a border around the meat so that you can roll it easily without all the filling oozing out. Then tuck in the ends, skewer and dip in the pistachio coating.
Sicilian Veal Involtini can be excellent served as an appetizer or main dish. Calculate four or five per person as a main dish. You can also prep them the day before serving.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do, and if you do please tag me with #mangiabedda with your photos on Instagram. Also, feel free to share the recipe by clicking on the social media buttons at the end of this recipe. Buon appetito!
Sicilian Veal Involtini
A typical dish eaten all over Sicily, Sicilian Veal Involtini are delectable little bundles with typical Sicilian ingredients: raisins; caciocavallo cheese; and pistachios.
- 550 grams veal scallopini
For the filling:
- 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup caciocavallo cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp Parmigiano cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp raisins, soaked in hot water to soften and finely minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing on the involtini
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
- 4 wooden skewers
Prepare the filling by combining in a medium sized bowl all of the filling ingredients (fresh breadcrumbs to pepper). Stir well to ensure all ingredients are coated in olive oil.
Preheat oven to 400F. Pound each slice of veal with a mallet until thin. Try not to tear the meat. Cut each slice into 2 or 3 squares approximately 10 cm wide.
Place about 2 tsp of filling at the centre of each veal square. Be sure to leave a thin border all around. Roll each square into a tight bundle, tuck in the ends and place seam side down.
When all the involtini have been rolled, carefully skewer 4 or 5 onto a wooden skewer.
Brush the involtini lightly with olive oil. Dredge in a shallow bowl filled with the chopped pistachios.
Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway. Serve hot.