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  • Jolly

Meat parcels in tomato sauce (involtini al sugo)

Updated: Dec 26, 2018

Common in any Italian family, these parcels are seldom seen in restaurants or described in English/American recipe websites… Yet, they are relatively quick to make, cheap and a guaranteed success! Fantastic also if left to rest for a day.


600 gr of thinly sliced beef

200 gr Fontina cheese (or other melting cheese such as Provola/Provolone)

200 gr cooked ham slices

ground black pepper

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

3 pinches of dried oregano

3 pinches of dried basil (or a handful of chopped fresh basil)

1 white onion

less than half a glass of white wine (red could also work)

a slug of olive oil

a thick slice of butter

cocktail sticks to close the parcels

you will need a cooking hammer to flatten the meat down and break the fibres, or a rolling pin


Lay a single slice of meat and gently hammer it a little to make it thinner and spread out - take care not to tear it and create holes, try to hammer it so that it keeps a good shape (square, rectangular or round).

If you don't have a hammer, lay down the slice, cover it abundantly with cling film, then gently roll over your rolling pin as per above.

Sprinkle the meat with black pepper

Place in the middle of each slice one cheese slice and on top a slice of ham – trim both to size if you need to (leave a “border” of pure meat on all sides)

Fold the meat as shown below and then roll it up. Close the parcel with 2 toothpicks.

Chop the onion in small pieces and place it in a large pan to soften up in olive oil and butter. When the onion is ready (soft and a little golden) add your parcels to the pan (tightly packed is perfect) and stir fry all on high heat – 3 minutes then turn your parcels and continue for another 3 minutes.

As soon as they take on colour, sprinkle with some oregano and basil, add the wine and let it evaporate:

At this point lower the temperature to medium-low and add the tin of chopped tomatoes, spreading it evenly all over your pan. No need to mix at this point, just cover the pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Turn the parcels over, and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

Take the lid off the pan, and let it simmer until the sauce is thickened (it will mostly be absorbed by the parcels).

Your “involtini” are ready now – serve with boiled potatoes. And if re-heating remember to nuke them in the microwave for 5 mins (stirring half way) or in a pot covered with a lid in a 200C oven for 15 mins.


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