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Turkey Roll Recipe - Rotolo di Tacchino


Though one rarely sees whole turkeys in Italy, turkey breast is quite common, and is sold either whole, cut in half, or sliced. Turkey roll is nice for a family meal, and is also an excellent option if you want to serve turkey for a festive occasion but your party is small.

To make a turkey roll you'll want about two pounds (800-1000 g) of breast meat, ideally from a turkey large enough that this will be half a breast. Fillings vary from cook to cook and can include:

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • Spinach and Ham 1 cup chopped cooked spinach, drained well
  • 1/2 pound (200g) ham
  • Optional: 1/4 pound (100 g) finely sliced fontina cheese
  • Spinach Frittata
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped cooked spinach, drained well
  • Optional: 1/4 pound (100 g) finely sliced fontina cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Onion Frittata
  • 2 eggs
  • A small sweet onion (e.g. Vidalia or Tropea), sliced and gently sautéed
  • Olive oil
  • Ham and Cheese
  • 1/2 pound (200 g) finely sliced ham 1/4 pound (100 g) finely sliced fontina cheese
  • Whatever other combination strikes your fancy
  • Salt, pepper, and the herbs of choice to taste
  • Butcher's twine


Begin by preparing the spinach, if you are using it, and making the frittata if you are planning to fill your roll with a frittata.

Next, put the turkey breast on a cutting board and make a horizontal cut almost all the way through it, about a 3/4 inch (1.5 cm) from the base. Open the breast like a book, make another cut, and open it again to obtain a rectangle of meat; gently pound it with the flat of your knife or a smooth meat pounder to thin it, keeping it as rectangular as you can.

Lay the ingredients of the stuffing over the slice, beginning with what will not melt, and season them to taste with salt, pepper, and whatever other herbs you like; I might go with some thyme and a tablespoon of minced parsley. Roll the breast up into a log, and tie it with butcher's twine so it resembles a salami; if you are including cheese in the filling be especially careful to make a good seal because it will melt and leak out if you don't.

You can either roast the roll or cook it on top of the stove. To roast it put it in a roasting pan, drizzle it with a little olive oil and a half cup (125 ml) of broth, put it into a preheated 360 F (180 C) oven for about an hour, and baste it occasionally. To cook it on the top of the stove, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a pot large enough for the roll to lie flat, and cook over a brisk flame, turning it, until it is browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook until it is done, about another half hour, spooning the juices over it occasionally.

Serve it sliced, with the pan drippings spooned over it, and mayonnaise on the side for those who like it. It's equally good hot or warm, and indeed is quite refreshing served warm on a hot summer day.

Yield: 6-8 servings turkey roll.

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