Bresaola Bundles

8--19-salad

One of the goodies awaiting me when we got home was a copy of  La Cucina Italiana.  It’s a great Italian food magazine with some excellent recipes.

One of the recipes I espied and thought sounded really good  was this:

Fagottini ripieni con mozzarella e pomodori

Fagottini means bundles in Italian, and these little ones are full of savory goodness: tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, and fresh mozzarella. Though they look stunning, making them is very straightforward. Just allow time to drain the tomatoes, a step that eliminates excess liquid while concentrating flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 3/4 pounds tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup Taggiasca olives, or other mild, fruity olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices prosciutto, about 11 inches long
  • 4 fresh chives or scallion greens
  • 8 green-leaf lettuce leaves

Instructions

In a small skillet, toast pine nuts over very low heat, occasionally shaking pan back and forth, until nuts are lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Bring saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop tomatoes into water and boil 30 seconds; drain, peel, seed and roughly chop.

Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large glass measure or container, then transfer tomato to sieve and let drain until liquid from tomatoes is separated from pulp, 3 to 5 hours, depending on juiciness of tomatoes. Discard juices or save for another use.

Set aside 1 tablespoon pine nuts and 1 tablespoon chopped olives for garnish. Tear cheese into small pieces; put pieces into a bowl. Add tomato pulp, remaining pine nuts, remaining olives, oil, basil and generous pinch pepper. Stir to combine.

Center 1 slice prosciutto over 1 ramekin; press prosciutto into edges of ramekin. Center a second slice over the first to make a cross; press second slice into edges of ramekin. Spoon a quarter of the cheese mixture into prepared ramekin, then pull up ends of prosciutto to create a sack. Gently tie together sack with 1 chive. Repeat with remaining prosciutto, cheese mixture and chives to make 4 fagottini.

Divide lettuce among 4 serving plates; drizzle with oil and season with pepper. Gently remove fagottini from ramekins and transfer onto the lettuce, garnish with reserved pine nuts and olives.

I really liked the concept, but I wasn’t up to draining tomatoes for hours… and I needed thicker slices of prosciutto than we have.

Enter bresaola.

Bresaola is air-dried salted beef that has been aged about 2-3 months until it becomes hard and a dark red, almost purple color. It is made from eye of round and is lean and tender with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy’s Lombardy region.

Since I changed the meat, I figured I could change the filling.  I minced up a carrot, a few cauliflower florettes, and a couple of mushrooms and sauteed them in a dab of olive oil, then a splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of red wine.  I cooked it all down and then addd some shaved Locatelli.  While eating it tonight, we were thinking of a dozen different fillings.  Actually, I don’t think there’s anything that wouldn’t work with this.

But I digress…

It went atop chopped romaine, with a bit of chicken breast on the side.  Victor made a honey mustarrd vinaigrette to drizzle over all.

It definitely fits into our return to reasonable consumption.  I gained back two pounds whilst eating our way through the Pacific Northwest.  Easy come.  Hard go.

There’s definitely a few things I will do differently the next time I make something like this.  The first item is not adding the chicken.  Don’t need it. (It was only a half-breast each, but still…)  And since the larder still isn’t quite back to where it was before vacation, I didn’t have a lot of peripherals, but a couple of radishes, maybe a sliced peach or nectarine… some mnore veggie-type things to dress up the plate.

As it is, I didn’t finish it, but I can envision a few other goodies…

And made a bit smaller, they’d make a great first course…