It has been a while since I wrote anything about cooking, so I thought I would honor my wonderful mother-in-law by relating one of her favorites. Her repertoire was not huge, but the things she made were invariably excellent. This dish is a crowd-pleaser, and it really makes a splash as it is presented because it is so eye-catching.
I will call it the Alianelli Meat and Frittata Roll.
Using very thinly sliced beef or pork, lay out the slices on a large piece of plastic wrap and pound them into one very large and flat slice. A meat tenderizing mallet will work well for this. Make sure that your flat shape, when rolled up, will fit in one of your large pans. You can make two short ones instead of one big one, and they will fit better. Keep in mind that the slices should not have a diameter wider than two to three inches, or they will fall apart as you cut them. Salt and pepper the meat, and dot it generously with butter. Set aside.
Create a number of quickly-made thin frittate, which are beaten egg mixed with a generous addition of freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or Grana Padano. “Generous” means about one part cheese to two parts egg. Make enough to entirely cover the meat. Be careful because these are very thin, they are easily torn, but they will be rolled up in the meat so it really isn’t so important that they be perfect.
At this point you can add very thinly-sliced prosciutto cotto or crudo, depending on your taste, laying it on top of the frittata. Again, cover the entire large “slice” of meat.
Now carefully roll the whole thing up very tightly, using the plastic wrap to help you, and hey, don’t roll the plastic up in the meat roll! Fold in the ends. Get out your cooking twine to bind it together so that during cooking it will behave. Using twine is another chapter, but I trust you will be able to handle it! Fry the roll in generous olive oil in which you have briefly added a couple of garlic cloves, removed before they brown. When the roll is thoroughly browned, and you are fairly sure it will have cooked through inside, add a cup or so of white wine to the pan to create a tasty reduction to spoon over the slices.
Remove the roll, let it cool down, and carefully remove the twine. With your sharpest knife begin slicing it into half-inch slices. They are almost psychedelic in their swirling bright yellow and dark brown spirals! Lay them out on a platter and spoon the sauce over. These can be zapped in the microwave right before serving to reheat them, or held in a warm oven.
Buon appetito, and Buona Pasqua!