I met Francesco and his daughter, Benedetta, in the market at Siracusa.

Benedetta spoke to me first as, in halting Italian, I stumbled my way through choosing some ricotta. Her English was practically non-existent but that didn’t deter our conversation, much less hinder its flow. We got to talking about Sicilian food.

I was invited to lunch the next day with them, to savour one of the finest dishes that Sicily has to offer

This taste sensation was Farsumagru, a stuffed roll of veal or beef, a much celebrated and very popular Sicilian dish. There are variations in the stuffing and on the way of cooking it, it depends on the province or even the neighbourhood.

I scribbled some notes and tips from Benedetta and it was the first (almost) Sicilian meal I made when I stepped off the plane. If you want to cook this famous meat roll, it’s not for a quick and easy cook-up. You need time and a lot of affection to create farsumagru.

There’s a recipe in Sicilian Food: Recipes from Italy’s Abundant Isle – also available formatted for Kindle from Mary Taylor Simeti. There’s also a recipe at Sicily Scene : A Welshwoman’s Life in Sicily, a delightful read at any time, not just for the recipes.

You need a flat piece of veal, so beat it to size with a meat mallet between two sheets of plastic wrap. You want a thickness of about ¼ of an inch. But here’s my way with farsumagru.

P.S – A Note from Calabria
My friend, Susan Scalise, says that pork, not veal, is used in Calabria and I may go for that next time.




  • 900g slice of veal (approx 8x12 inches)
  • 4 TBLsp olive oil
  • 225g medium onion, chopped
  • 225g finely chopped veal
  • 225g Italian sausage meat
  • 1 hard boiled egg cut in quarters
  • 225g sliced pancetta
  • 1 finely minced clove of garlic
  • ½ cup flaked parmesan or diced Provoletta cheese
  • ¼ cup of your preferred grated cheese
  • ¼ cup currants or raisins soaked in warm water
  • ½ cup Italian parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butcher’s twine to tie the rolled meat
  • To cook the roll
  • The leftover oil and fat from cooking the stuffing
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 225g tomato paste diluted in 8 cups of water
  • Basil leaves


  1. In a large saute pan over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions and saute for about 7 minutes until golden
  2. Add the finely chopped veal and sausage meat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously
  3. Remove the meat. The oil and fat left in the pan will be used to saute the stuffed meat roll
  4. Roll out the widest side of the veal. Sprinkle with the minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste
  5. Place the sliced pancetta to cover the meat and add flaked parmesan cheese
  6. Lengthwise, spread the meat filling mostly in the centre and place egg quarters on top, then sprinkle on the grated cheese, breadcrumbs and the parsley
  7. Roll the veal in the shape of a large salami and tie it with the butcher twine, gently winding it around and lengthwise. Run the twine twice around, making sure it's not too tight
  8. To cook the roll, use the saute pan where the stuffing was made. Use the remaining fat from cooking the stuffing along with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and over a medium flame saute the rolled veal
  9. When it's lightly browned on all sides, add chopped onion and keep the roll in the pan until the onions are lightly golden
  10. Add the wine. Add diluted tomato paste, basil, salt and pepper, bring to a boil and then simmer for one hour
  11. Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove twine and slice


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *