Beef Involtini - Slow Braised Meat Rolls

For the past 11 days I have been fighting a cold.  I experience every single symptom that every cold medicine list on their packaging. I don’t think I ever had a cold hit me this hard or overstayed it’s welcome - EVER!.  I had been, simply put – MISERABLE. And like anyone, when you are sick, the last thing you want to do is cook or be around food - at least that is the case with me. On top of all that I’m in the middle of interviewing for a new job, which has taken over my mental state.  

Tomorrow I will be going in for my third interview with this company and I’m about to crack – No joke. To have something that you want so very bad right there for you to take, but still beyond your reach, because other people are making the final decision - well, it’s sucks the big one.  I can honestly say that I comprehend what Top Chef contestant go thru doing everything in the power to reach their dream and still not have full control of the final outcome.

So, I know that I have neglected Sweetbites this past week.  But, hopefully this weekend I will be back in full swing and cook up a storm, and then you all be sending me emails to stop posting so much.  Just you watch.

But what I do have is a recipe that I made over a month ago, and just remember that it has been sitting on my DRAFT box all this time.

If you love meat, you are going to love this dish. It’s Italian and my grandmother use to make this more times that I can count. For Italians, this one of the most popular dish found as the “secondo piatti” (second course). Involtini (diminutive form of involti) means “little bundles”.  Each “involtino” is held together by a wooden toothpick (or in some cases tied with a string), and the dish is usually served (in various sauces: red, white, etc.). When cooked in tomato sauce, the sauce itself is used to toss the pasta for the first course, giving a consistent taste to the whole meal. Italian love their involtini, they stuff and roll all types of meats and seafood with all types of stuffing – nuts, vegetables, other meats and cheese, the combinations are numerous and the rewards are bountiful.

My version below is stuffed with a combo of ground pork, chicken and beef.  You can also use any type that you like, veal, turkey, even sausage would work. Be as creative with this as you want to be, the end results is always a hit.


For the rolls:

  • ¼ pound of ground pork
  • ½ pound of ground chicken
  • ½ pound of ground beef
  • ¼ cup finely granted parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ pound raw slices beef top sirloin (about 12-15 slices, pounded to about 1/8” thick)

For the sauce 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup read or white wine
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  1. To make the filling for the rolls, knead together the ground pork, chicken, beef, Parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, salt and black pepper.
  2. Lay a slice of beef top sirloin on a cutting board, sprinkle with salt and ground pepper and place a couple of spoonful of the filling at one end.  Roll the beef, making sure you tuck in the sides as you go. Secure the roll with a toothpick skewered all the way through the middle of the roll.  Ultimately you can also use kitchen twine to tie it.  Repeat for the rest of the slices and filling.  Note, if you have any of the filling left over, make small meatballs that you can freeze and later use for other dishes.
  3. For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide pot until it starts to shimmer.  Brown the involtinis in batches, on all sides, and set them aside on a plate when nicely caramelized.  Turn down the heat to medium, and sauté the garlic cloves, onion, carrot and bay leaves in the remaining oil.  Add the wine, scarping loose any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and then add the tomato puree, broth and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Return the involtini and their juices to the pot, bring to a simmer, and cover with a lid set slightly ajar.  Simmer the meat rolls gently for 1½  hours, turning them a few times during the cooking.

Serve with your choice of side dish – we love it with polenta or rice.