Cut “X’s” in the meat in about a dozen places and stuff with the paste.

I knew when I got up this morning that it was gonna be a beef-for-dinner day.  I could handle leftover turkey soup one more time for lunch, but dinner was gonna be beef.

I went perusing through past issues of La Cucina Italiana magazine and came upon a recipe that sounded extremely intriguing – wrapping a roast in parchment paper.

I decided to give it a try!

Like so many of the La Cucina recipes, the ingredients were few and the cooking style slightly unique.

The basic premise is to make a paste of lardo – a cured meat made from the layer of fat found directly under the pig’s skin – garlic, parsley, and a couple other ingredients, rub it onto the roast, wrap the roast in parchment, tie it, and roast it.  Not really very difficult.

Lardo-Studded Roast Beef

  • 3 1/2 ounces lardo or guanciale
  • 2 tsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) eye of round beef roast, excess fat trimmed
  • potatoes cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • olive oil

parchment paper; kitchen string

Heat oven to 400° with racks in upper and lower thirds.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine lardo, parsley, garlic, peppercorns, paprika, cinnamon, and brandy; blend to a smooth paste.

Make about 12 x-shaped incisions about 2-inches deep all over the roast; stuff each with about 1 teaspoon paste. Rub roast all over with remaining paste and season with salt.

Roll roast in a sheet of parchment paper and fold and tuck ends under. Tie up the roast at 1-inch intervals with kitchen string. Place roast in a baking dish and cook in lower third of oven for 30 minutes.

In a roasting pan, toss potatoes, carrots and celery with oil and salt to taste.

Put vegetables in upper third of oven and continue to cook roast and vegetables until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 130° for medium-rare, about 45 minutes more.

Remove roast from oven (leaving vegetables in oven to finish cooking while roast rests) and let rest 15 minutes. Discard string from roast, slice roast into 1/3-inch-thick slices and serve with vegetables.

Spread the remaining paste all over the roast.

I did more pressing than spreading, but it worked.  The goal is to try and cover the meat.

Wrap beef in parchment paper and tie with kitchen twine.

I buy full-sheet parchment paper by the case because I use so much of it.  One full-sized sheet worked perfectly.

The smells wafting through the house were incredible.

The vegetables were total simplicity.

Into the oven with just olive oil, salt, and pepper.

And an hour later…

Roasted and ready.

I actually over-cooked the beef for my liking, but it still was tasty.

I really should have checked it sooner, but I was relying on the clock rather than then thermometer.  Next time I’ll pay closer attention.

But I have to tell ya – the cooking method really rocked!  The beef was juicy-tender with tons of flavor. And the whole house smelled great.

Just what I was looking for!