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. It’s quite interesting how much sense I can convey with a tiny bit of language and an enormous bit of mime. Pure theatre, really. Anway, we got to talking about Sicilian food.
I was invited to lunch, il pranzo, the next day with them, to savour one of the finest dishes that Sicily has to offer. Mind you, this was a heavier meal than I’d expected for a lunch date.
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.