Pugliese Beef Rolls


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This traditional dish from Puglia consists of stuffed beef rolls stewed in a flavoursome tomato sauce. It is generally served over pasta, although the rolls can also be served as a main course accompanied by potatoes and vegetables.


  • 135 ml/9 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large celery stick, with leaves if possible, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 500 g/1 ¼ lbfresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, drained canned tomatoes or passata/bottled strained tomatoes
  • 8 thin slices of lean beef, such as minute steak
  • 8 slices prosciutto crudo
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp grated pecorino cheese
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • vegetables or pasta, to serve (optional)


  1. Make the tomato sauce. Heat 60 ml/4 tbsp of the oil in a heavy pan and add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Fry over a low heat for 10 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft and the onion is transparent. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Meanwhile, lay one of the meat slices on a board and cover it with clear film or plastic wrap, tucking the film under the board. Using a meat mallet or a rolling pin, beat the meat until really thin, being careful not to tear it.

  3. Remove the clear film and place a slice of prosciutto over the flattened beef slice. Add a sprinkling of parsley, a little black pepper and an eighth of the grated cheese.

  4. Roll the meat up tightly to enclose the filling and secure the roll with a wooden cocktail stick or toothpick, or a piece of kitchen string or twine. Make the remaining rolls in the same way.

  5. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. When it sizzles, add the rolls. Fry until browned all over, then lift out and drain in a colander.
  6. Season the tomato sauce, then add the beef rolls and spoon the sauce over them. Continue to simmer gently for about 30 minutes, adding a little water as necessary to prevent the sauce from getting too thick.

  7. Serve the meat rolls with vegetables or with pasta, if you like.