Grilling Roll-ups the Italian Way

Braciolettine Arrostite (Sicily) (5) You can grill  anything!  Or just about anything.  I learned this while writing my book GRILL ITALIAN that was published in 1996 (wow, that’s almost 20 years ago). Throwing a steak on the grill, or some vegetables in that new vegetable griller you may have gotten for your birthday is fine–and easy–but with a little more effort you can make some impressive dishes.  I love hot dogs, hamburgers, and the usual on the grill but sometimes I just like the idea of trying new things on family and friends.

I’m lucky because my family eats anything and one recipe–actually there are many varieties–that gets made during the summer are the grilled roll-ups typical in Italian cooking.  They might be called braciole or involtini but they are all various kinds of meat–but fish and vegetables too– that are flattened and stuffed, then rolled up, skewered and grilled.  A good place to start is with beef since its easy.  Plus you can buy cheaper cuts as the beef has to be cooked long enough for the inside filling to get cooked and that makes for a very tender offering.  Braciolettine Arrostite (Sicily) (7)

One preparation is a Sicilian one called braciolettini arrostite which simply means small grilled roll-ups.  A beef round steak is perfect for this.  You’ll want to pound it between two sheets of plastic wrap until it is no more than 1/4 inch thick then cut them into 5 x 3-inch pieces.  Larger is okay too.  In some olive oil fry up some fresh bread crumbs until golden then transfer to a bowl and mix with currants, pine nuts, and onion.  Spoon a bit of this mixture into the center of your beef pieces and roll-up tightly, securing the ends with toothpicks if necessary.  Now you will want to double skewer the beef roll ups interspersed with bay leaves (previously soaked in water to make them less brittle) and some onion pieces. You’ll want to double skewer so that the roll-ups don’t spin when turning them.  You may want to cut down the bamboo skewers or make sure enough roll-ups are on them so the skewer is not too exposed. Once your fire is ready grill away.  If you feel you need a recipe you can go here.

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