One of the most vivid dishes I remember from when I was really young was something my grand ma used to make, amongst other (many) delicious things. I remember staying over in her beautiful home, full of really old stuff (she’d live there since before WWII), lots of places to hide and seek, old post cards in boxes, old books, and a window overlooking the street below, called rampe. I used to sit at that window in the dark room and watch the cars drive past, in the evening or during the day, the downstairs neighbourhood living in a ‘basso’ cleaning her tiny flat all the time, wearing pjs and wooden clogs.
When we stayed for dinner, she would often make a fairly simple but very tasty dish of meat rolls, stuffed with cheese and ham. I do not remember exactly how they were; I was too young to think about cooking then. Recently, on a TV show, I was asked where did I learn to cook. I didn’t, not in the strict sense of it. I just ate lots of great food back at home in Italy and grew up appreciating home cooking.
So when I was recently sent a wedge of Grana Padano cheese and a pack of San Daniele prosciutto, this particular dish came to my mind, and I attempted recreating it as best as I could from my now foggy memory. It is nowhere near as good as nonna’s of course, but I hope she’d be pleased with the results, and the fact that I am making what she, so lovingly, used to make us.
‘Involtini della nonna’ aka meat rolls with cheese and ham
- 2 frying organic beef steaks, beaten to around 5mm thickness and cut into rectangles (6)
- 30gr Grana Padano PDO, grated
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- San Daniele ham, 6 slices
- Salt, pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Dry white wine
- A clove of garlic
- After thinning the meat, lay the slices on a meat chopping board, and on each slice, roughly cut into rectangles, lay a slice of San Daniele, then grated Grana Padano, salt, pepper and the parsley. Roll from the long side and fix with a tootpick. Set aside.
- In a large, shallow frying pan, heat the oil with the garlic, and once brown, add the meat and let it fry for a couple of minutes, rolling them over to ensure cooking is even. Once the pan is hot, add the white wine and let it evaporate. Add some olive oil if the pan gets too dry.It will take about 15, 20 mins to cook.
- Serve with greens and potatoes: I used crushed new potatoes with homemade wild garlic & cashew nuts pesto and broccoli tender stems.
I received samples of Grana Padano and Prosciutto di San Daniele for the purpose of publishing a recipe; opinions are my own.