BEEF INVOLTINI (Beef rolls stuffed with ricotta)

This is adapted from a Nigella recipe where the involtini are stuffed aubergines slices. I am a great one for reinventing recipes, and since I had some thin steak slices in the fridge, I thought it would be nice to try a variant on a recipe I cook quite often. I made this in record time, since I had just come in from a meeting and needed to get a meal on the table quickly. Normally, when I make involtini, I like to spin the process out: I griddle the aubergine slices and set aside, then make the filling and the tomato sauce, and finally, assemble everything. It is quite therapeutic.

This is one of those brilliant dishes that can be made in advance and then left, before bunging in the oven about half an hour before you want to eat.

Serves 4

4 thin cut steaks (I buy mine in M&S), flattened between cling film


200g ricotta
2 tbsps grated fresh parmesan or pecorino
2 tbsps breadcrumbs
1 tsp good quality dried oregano (or fresh if you have it)
A handful of pine nuts
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg
Salt & pepper

Tomato sauce
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt & pepper
A couple of generous tbsps of breadcrumbs mixed with grated fresh parmesan

Oven 180 C

Flatten the steak by bashing it with a rolling pin between two sheets of cling film, and set aside.
Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients together. For the tomato sauce, heat some olive oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic gently. Then add the tomatoes and season. Sometimes tinned tomatoes benefit from a pinch of sugar.

Assemble the involtini by placing a spoonful of mixture at one end of the steak slice and then rolling up. You can brown off the meat in oil before baking, or just place the involtini in a baking dish. Pour over the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs mixture. Bake in the oven for about 30 mins, or until the breadcrumb mixture is crisp and golden brown.

Serve with a green salad.

For a vegetarian version, slice an aubergine and griddle the slices, then stuff and bake as above.


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