The sicilian meat rolls, also called spiedini (meat cooked on a spit) or spitini (not to be confused with Spitini from fry shop) are a well known second course, hailing from the town of Bagheria at the door of Palermo.
The traditional filling in Palermo, is made with bread crumbs, caciocavallo cheese, raisins and pine nuts (formerly the bone marrow was also added to the mixture to blend and season the stuffing).
While the sicilian meat rolls cook over the charcoal, the scent of bay leaves, mixed with the perfume given off by the onion , seeps through the nostrils, culminating in the explosion of the distinctive flavors of this dish.
1 kg. of well leveled beef slices (size approx. 3 x 6 cm)
2 big onions
For the filling
Half a grated onion
300 g bread crumbs
300 g grated semi-seasoned caciocavallo cheese or pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
50 g raisins
50 g pine nuts
Half a glass of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly fry the finely chopped onion in a pan with a little oil and mix it, out of the fire, with the bread crumbs, the grated cheese, the raisins (that you have already softened in warm water) and the pine nuts. Then season with salt and pepper. Now blend everything with a little olive oil. The mixture should be compact so that it can be shaped.
Prepare the rolls by brushing the meat slices with olive oil and a pinch of salt then put on them a little bit of filling and wrap to form the rolls. Little by little prepare the spit while you make them by preceeding as follows: run through two bamboo skewer sticks a layer of onion, a bay leaf and the meat roll and then go on with onion, bay leaf and meat roll. Compose a skewer of four rolls and end with bay leaves and onion. Do this until all the ingredients are over. If you prefer, you can grease the rolls with olive oil and then pass them in the breadcrumbs (the softness is enhanced).
Once you’ve finished pass them on the the grill over the charcoal. This would be the best way of cooking meat rolls, however if you do not have the charcoal you may also use a griddle suitable for the purpose.