TODAY Food Club Star Nicole Gaffney shares her special tips for making her delicious Italian roll-ups called spiedini:
"I used eye round cutlets sold as "sandwich steaks" because that's what they offer in my grocery store, but any cut will work as long as they are nice and thin. These should be finger food: 2-3 per person as an appetizer or 4-6 per person as an entrée. Any cutlets that are too large after pounding out can be cut in half."
Italian Beef Roll-Ups
- 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs, plus more as needed
- 1 pound beef cutlets, sliced very thinly and pounded to about 1/8-1/4-inch thick
- 2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought
- 1 large yellow onion, finely minced
- 4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, chopped into small chunks
- 20 slices Genoa salami, very thinly sliced (optional)
- Dried bay leaves (optional)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound baby spinach
- 1 large bunch farm fresh spinach leaves, washed and large stems trimmed, or 2 pounds baby spinach
- 2 ounces high-quality Parmesan cheese, such as Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Italian Beef Roll-Ups:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Bread the cutlets: Arrange a work space by filling a medium, shallow bowl with the oil and filling another medium, shallow bowl with about 2 cups of the bread crumbs. Working one at a time, dip each cutlet into the oil, allowing the excess to drip off, and then dredge in the bread crumbs. Set aside.
3. Make the filling: In a bowl, combine the tomato sauce, onions and cheese. Add a few handfuls of seasoned bread crumbs a little bit at a time until the mixture is the consistency of runny oatmeal. Be careful not to make it too wet because if it's too saucy, it will ooze out when you roll these up.
4. Assemble the Roll-Ups (Spiedini): Create an assembly line by placing a stack of the breaded cutlets next to a stack of sliced salami (if using), and the bowl of filling. Place a few cutlets down on a cutting board, then lay a piece or two of salami (if using) on top. Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling on top of the salami, being careful not to put too much. At this point, you can choose to roll them up like cigars or bunch the meat up into a pouch and use two toothpicks to hold it closed.
5. Place the spiedini in a greased baking dish. Be sure to pack them tightly, as this will help them cook evenly. Spoon all of the extra sauce, onion, or breadcrumb mixture into any holes in the pan. This will help keep the spiedini. If you don't have any mixture left, you can mix together a little sauce and breadcrumbs. No need to chop more onions and cheese for this part if you don't have any left.
6. (Optional) Break up some pieces of dried bay leaves and tuck them in between each spiedini. This is optional, but gives them a nice, subtle flavor.
7. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or so until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve hot or warm.
For the Parmesan Spinach:
1. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic, season with a pinch of salt and saute until it just starts to turn golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach and toss until it begins to wilt—this will happen very quickly. Grate a little more than half of the Parmesan over the top and toss some more to combine.
2. Remove from the heat to prevent overcooking. You want the spinach to be just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Place the spinach and all of the juices into a serving bowl and grate the remaining Parmesan over the top. Serve hot!