Recipes

Delicious Stuffed Beef Fillet

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time:
  • Provided by:

    Ingredients Print Recipe

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 whole beef fillet roast, about 4-5 pounds when trimmed
  • 6 thin slices Italian Parma Ham (Prosciutto di Parma)
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, sage and rosemary. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Trim the fillet, cut away the side strip of meat (save for stir-fry) if it is still attached. Trim away most of the external fat and any underlying membrane, called silverskin. To double butterfly the filet, lay the meat on a work surface and make a horizontal lengthwise cut two thirds of the way into the depth of the roast and about 1-inch from the long edge nearest you, taking care not to cut all the way through. Flip the fillet over so the cut you just made is opposite you and make another lengthwise cut, again 1-inch from the edge. Open up the 2 cuts so you have a large rectangle of meat whose diameter is about 3 times the thickness of the meat. Place meat fat side down. Using the heal of your hand gently flatten the meat to an even thickness. Cover the meat with a layer of Parma mam slices then spread the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the ham to make an even layer and covering all of the ham except for a 1-inch border. Roll up the meat jelly-roll style so the stuffing is in a spiral pattern. Tie the roast at 2-inch intervals with butcher's twine.

Lightly brush the roast all over with some of the olive oil then coat the roast all over with all of the herb rub. Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and roast for 25 minutes. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. Remove the roast when the internal temperature is 115-120ºF for rare, 125-130ºF for medium-rare and 130 to 140 for medium. Remove from oven and cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. To serve, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.

** It's hard to picture Mama Rosa as anything but an Italian grandmother. I can imagine that she was even called "Mama Rosa" when she was a young woman. Mama Rosa is the quintessential Italian grandmother, old enough to be believable as a grandmother but still young and vibrant enough to make a multi-course meal for 40 in a tiny kitchen. Like so many Italians I have had the pleasure of meeting, their warmth, graciousness and generosity makes you feel like a family member even within the first half hour of meeting.

I arrived at Rosa Musi's house in the village of Reverberi in the hills outside Parma on the afternoon of day 2 of a press tour of Parma. We were guests of the Consorsium that makes and markets on of the world's greatest cheeses, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Five American journalists were invited to Parma to learn how Parmigiano-Reggiano is made, used and enjoyed. In the short 3 days we toured around the hills and fields that surround the city of Parma we learned a lot about current cheese production, the history of Parmigiano-Reggiano and best of all we learned how it is used in cooking.

We came to Mama Rosa's house to learn first hand from a skilled home cook, not a professional chef, how Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plays a central role in the cooking of the region, Emelio-Romangia.

That afternoon Mama Rosa with the aid of her daughters Lucia and Maria, several squirming babies, dogs and the odd curious neighbor, showed us how to make little raviolis called tortelli filled with ricotta (from San Stefano Dairy) chard and Parmigiano-Reggiano, more tortelli filled with butternut squash and Parmigiano-Reggiano, cannolini stuffed with ricotta, Parma ham and sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano, angelotti (crescent shaped pasta) filled with cooked veal, bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano and for the piece de resistance, a roast called Rosa di Parma, a whole fillet butterflied and stuffed with Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano, rolled, tied and cooked in fresh sage, rosemary, and garlic. The roast showcases two of the greatest products of Parma, Parma Ham and Parmesan cheese. Whole fillet is not cheap nor are the accessories used to give it flavor, it is a royal dish worthy of the most elegant of dinner parties or special celebrations.

The fact that the name for the dish, the classic from the region, was named Rosa is a coincidence but seemed appropriate because it embodied the richness and generosity of our host Mama Rosa.

Talking about generosity I knew that we were invited to stay for dinner but the amount Mama Rosa and her daughters were preparing seemed an awful lot for the 10 of us who were to eat that night. Italians are generous but even by their standards there seemed to be enough for 40 persons. When I began to question the ample portioning I was quickly whisked aside and told there were to be 40 people and that Mama was cooking food for a surprise party for a close friend, Alice Fixx to celebrate 25 years of taking journalists to learn about Parmesan cheese making. The amazing thing that in a room no bigger that 20 feet by 20 feet they were able to seat 40 people. Alice was truly surprised and I was very impressed.

The meal we ate was no Thursday night family meal but a feast fit for a celebration and I made a mental note that it was such a special feast that I planned to make as part of it for my own holiday celebration (see recipes). Maybe not 4 pastas, after all, I don't have Mama Rosa and her daughters around to help but I sure plan to make Rosa di Parma and a few other goodies inspired from that menu and I will finish with chunks of the best aged Parmigiano-Reggiano I can find for desert, sprinkled with some real extra vecchio balsamico.

Parmigiano Reggiano is the real "parmesan cheese' and shares nothing in common with what we call "parmesan cheese" in this country and while it is often used grated, it is most admired as a great cheese to eat on its own. Its name is protected and must come from one of these areas; Parma, Modena, and Reggio-Emilio. By law no other area in the European Community (EC) can call cheese parmesan. Unfortunately these laws are not applied in the USA and parmesan cheese means little and for most Americans refers to a dried sawdust material sold shelf stable in green cylindrical boxes. Fortunately the name Parmigiano-Reggiano is protected even in the US and anything going by any other name should be rejected. And once you taste a chunk of the real thing, you will see why.

This menu makes for a very festive holiday dinner. I've portioned everything to feed a dozen diners but if you have less folks then reduce the size of the recipes accordingly.

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