Beef Rolls with Mustard and Vegetables
Involtini di Manzo alla Senape

serves: 6 servings

These rolled-up scallops of beef (involtini di manzo) are fun to make, lovely to serve, and delicious to eat, with the tangy surprise of a whole pickle (and other vegetable morsels) inside. They're a practical choice for a special meal, too, since you can assemble and cook the involtini in advance, leave them in the pan, where they'll stay moist, and reheat them when your guests are seated. And if you need more than six servings, the recipe can be multiplied easily. I like to serve these with spaetzle to mop up the sauce.

2½ pound boneless bottom-round rump roast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons German style mustard
2 large stalks celery, cut in 2x4 inch sticks
2 medium carrots, cut in 2x4 inch sticks
12 small dill pickles, (about 2 inches long)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 bay leaves, fresh
1 cup white wine
4 cups light stock, (chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth)
¼ extra-virgin olive oil


Lay one hand open on the top of the roast to hold it in place. With a sharp chef's knife, begin slicing the meat on a slant, cutting across the grain, and continue with parallel angled cuts every 1/2 inch or so, slicing the meat chunk into a dozen thin scallops. As you slice, press down lightly with your top hand, creating resistance, so you can feel the blade moving and keep the slices evenly thick.

Flatten the slices into scallops one at a time. Place each one between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound it with the toothed face of a meat mallet, tenderizing and spreading it into a narrow oval, about 6 by 3 inches. When all are pounded, season the scallops with salt, about 1/2 teaspoon in all, and spread a thin layer of mustard on the top surfaces.

Starting at the short end of each scallop, pile three celery sticks, three carrot sticks, and a pickle in a bundle. Roll up the meat, enclosing the vegetables, and secure it with toothpicks. When all the rolls are formed, season with the remaining salt. Spread the flour on a plate, and dredge the involtini, lightly coating them.

Pour the olive oil in the pan, and set it over medium-high heat. Shake excess flour from the rolls, lay them in the pan in one layer, and cook, rotating and moving them around, until browned all over. Push the rolls to the side of the pan, and scatter the onion slices and any remaining carrot and celery sticks on the pan bottom. Drop in the bay leaves, and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they're beginning to brown and soften, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat to high, pour in the white wine, and let it heat and bubble until almost completely evaporated. Pour in just enough broth to cover the involtini, and bring it to a boil. Set the cover ajar, and adjust the heat to keep the liquid simmering. Cook for an hour and 15 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced to a consistency you like.

Turn off the heat, take out the toothpicks, and remove the involtini to a warm platter. Ladle some of the pan sauce over the involtini, pour the rest into a bowl for passing at the table, and serve while hot.