Veal Shoulder Farsumagru Recipe
Veal Shoulder Farsumagru

Each chapter in my book Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours is built around a big, festive main course, usually meat or bird, but meat does not need to be the focal point of every meal. That said, it's perfect for a special occasion as we approach the end of spring.

My Veal Shoulder Farsumagru is an adaptation of a classic Sicilian Sunday supper dish. Farsumagru is Sicilian dialect for "falsely lean" and refers to beef or veal stuffed with meats, cheese, vegetables and eggs, rolled to look like a roast.

This is easily the most complicated dish in "Molto Batali," but the bulk of the work -- including the deboning and the pounding of the veal shoulder -- can be done by your butcher (if you ask nicely). The secret to the sauce is a great tomato paste. I like a strattu from Sicily best.

Chill the leftovers and then slice thinly and place between two pieces of toasted or grilled country bread for sandwiches. It's Sunday supper's answer to Thanksgiving leftovers.

Veal Shoulder Farsumagru

Recipe courtesy of Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours

Serves 8 to 10 as a main course.

Veal rolls:

2 boneless veal shoulders (about 3 pounds each), butterflied open and pounded by your butcher to an even 1/3- to 1/2-inch thickness

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup dried currants

1/2 cup sweet red wine, such as Passito di Pantelleria

1/4 cup, plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium red onions, chopped into 1/4-inch dice

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound ground veal

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

4 cups chopped fresh beet greens or red Swiss chard leaves

About 5 ounces Pecorino Ragusano or Pecorino Pepato, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup), may sub pecorino romano

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, toasted

8 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coppa or mortadella

8 hard-boiled eggs

Season the veal with salt and pepper, and place in the fridge.

Place the currants in a small bowl, and cover with the wine. Set aside to soak.

In a 14-inch saute pan, heat 1/4 cup of the oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until just softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ground veal and sausage, and break the meat up with a wooden spoon. Cook until all pink is gone, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the beet greens and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and allow it to cool.

Drain the currants, reserving the wine. Add the currants, diced cheese, pine nuts, parsley and breadcrumbs to the meat mixture, and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the veal shoulders from the fridge, place them on a work surface, and season them with salt and pepper. Lay a thin layer of pancetta (or coppa or mortadella) on top of each veal shoulder, to cover. Spread the stuffing mixture over the pancetta, and then lay 4 boiled eggs, end to end, on each one. Roll each piece of veal up like a jellyroll. Tie the rolls securely with butcher's twine and season the outside with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In an ovenproof, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium heat until smoking. Add the veal rolls and cook, turning them frequently, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. (If necessary, do this in two batches to avoid rushing this step or crowding the pan. If needed, add more oil to the pan to brown the second roll.) Transfer the browned rolls to a large platter and set aside.

Braising liquid:

2 medium white onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup tomato paste

2 cups dry white wine

2 cups basic tomato sauce (for quick results, try my Mario Batali pasta sauces)

Make the braising liquid: Drain the oil from the pan. Add the white onions and cook, scraping up the brown bits with the edge of a wooden spoon, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, until it turns a rust color. Add the white wine, reserved currant soaking wine, and the tomato sauce, and bring to a boil. Place the browned veal rolls in the sauce, cover the pan with a lid or foil, and place it in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and the internal temperature reaches 155 F. (Be sure to use a meat thermometer.)

Remove the veal rolls from the sauce, place them on a platter, and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Then carve and serve with the sauce alongside.

(Mario Batali is the owner of Babbo, Lupa, Otto and other renowned restaurants. His latest book is "Molto Batali," published by Ecco.)

Veal Main Course, Italian


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Veal Shoulder Farsumagru

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