Bresaola (or cured beef) is a cured meat typical of the Valtellina area. This is one of the Italians’ favorites, with its “sweet” and light flavor. Note that in 100g of bresaola there are just about 150 calories, which is 70 calories less than the equally light baked ham.
Anyone who has ever followed a diet knows bresaola well enough since it’s recommended by all the nutritionists in the world. Bresaola is raw meat that is preserved, dried, and rested in brine for about two weeks.
The aging process will start after 2 months: this makes the meat very digestible as well as delicate.
One of the differences, if compared to other deli meats, is that there is no seasoning or too much salt – as is the case with salami and dry cured ham, for example – so it can be food suitable for subjects suffering from hypertension and those who follow a low-calorie diet.
Even those who suffer from high cholesterol can eat a plate of bresaola. It’s, in fact, one of the few cured meats allowed due to the absence of fat, which makes it a lean cut.
From a nutritional point of view, it’s also rich in proteins, iron and minerals. For this reason, bresaola is an ideal ingredient for a balanced diet, as well as for anemic women or during the menstrual cycle.
But how to cook bresaola so as not to always offer it in the usual monotonous and plain recipe?
Ingredients to season and cook bresaola
To give bresaola maximum prominence it must be combined with ingredients that are equally delicate or slightly aromatic. For example, fresh and spreadable cheeses – such as Philadelphia – work as well as aged cheeses -such as pecorino or Grana Padano.
All raw leafy vegetables, like arucula and lettuce, are excellent because they give a crunchy texture to the dish. Cooked leafy vegetables are also an excellent combination, as their sweet taste combine very well with bresaola.
Even some vegetables like zucchini, peppers and eggplant can offer an unconventional contrast. As for spices and aromas, the flavor of bresaola can be enhanced with chives, rosemary, parsley, pepper, fennel, and almost any other aroma.
Some people like to dare with combinations that create a slight contrast, such as sweet fruit: opting for a dish of pears, figs or grapes and bresaola is certainly not trivial and deserves to be tasted.
After all, “dry cured ham and melon” is not the only combination, so it’s also good to try these alternatives. Bresaola can also be used in small pieces to season pasta, cereals, or as a main ingredient with bread and baked goods.
The combination with legumes is also excellent, especially peas; as for an American breakfast, it will make a great combination with eggs.
On the other hand, with regard to “liquid combinations”, oil and lemon always make a perfect match: they balance the taste of bresaola and enhance its strong points. This list of ingredients covers a wide range of recipes, which can be served from breakfast to side dishes.
The special feature of bresaola is precisely that of being a versatile food, adapting wonderfully to any context, as long as it is cooked well and matched properly.
Recipes with bresaola
The most common way to serve bresaola is on a plate with a drizzle of oil and lemon, or rolled with parmesan and arucula.
These recipes certainly make excellent appetizers or small finger food dishes; but they can also make a whole meal in a low-calorie regime. However, it will be interesting to know how to enhance the unique taste of bresaola cooking “real dishes” with which amaze your guests.
For example, many people do not know that bresaola can be used to prepare delicious sauces, starred restaurants risottos or even American sandwiches – but in a healthier version.
In the next recipes, therefore, we will see something atypical that can change the food routine, but without excesses.
Introducing bresaola into your diet -whether it be high-protein, low-calorie or other-, is important because while it is a delight for the palate, it will also make you healthier.
The advice is to buy fresh bresaola from your trusted butcher and to consume it within two days otherwise it will lose its red and delicate texture. The preserved bresaola is also excellent but the best is certainly that of the Valtellina area which has gained the PGI certification precisely for its high quality.
Remember to always serve it with a good wine, be it white or red, but with a light and slightly sparkling texture so as to fully combine with the refinement of bresaola.
Risotto with bresaola
The risotto with bresaola is a fresh dish and ideal for the summer: it will feel like biting a soft and rich cloud of taste.
To prepare it you will need:
- 400 g of rice;
- 200 g of bresaola;
- 100 g of fresh cheese;
- half a glass of milk;
- 100 g of grated Grana Padano;
- half an onion;
- salt, pepper, chives to taste;
- a glass of white wine;
- extra virgin olive oil to taste.
To prepare, take a pan and heat a drizzle of oil with a thinly sliced onion. When the onion is golden, add the rice and leave it in the pan for a couple of minutes and let it simmer with white wine.
Gradually add water when the wine has evaporated, until the risotto is finally cooked. Some people prefer to add vegetable broth but we assure you that hot water is enough to achieve an optimal result.
Remember to set a slow flame in order to give the rice the appropriate time to cook while not letting the water evaporate too quickly. In a separate saucepan, mix milk, grated Grana, and cream cheese until they are completely melted, obtaining a homogeneous sauce. Now, add salt and chopped chives to the sauce.
This is not done yet, as the highlight is missing: bresaola. Cut it thinly and mix it with the sauce – this will make risotto very creamy and tasty.
When rice is ready, set the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
The dish will be served hot, with the bresaola frayed and placed on the topping, in order to embellish the dish and add a pleasant aesthetic touch.
To give this dish a touch of color you can use saffron, that will give rice a yellow tone and increase the delicate flavor of this meal.
Carrot roll with lettuce and bresaola
The carrot roll with lettuce and bresaola is a very light dish and represents a valid alternative to the omelet roll. The taste will be very similar but with a sweet touch brought by carrots, a greater amount of vegetables, and a more orangy color.
To prepare it you will need:
- 100 grams of carrots;
- 5 eggs;
- 40 g of Grana Padano;
- 100 g of bresaola;
- salt and pepper;
- 8 lettuce leaves;
- cream cheese;
- extra virgin olive oil.
First of all, boil carrots then chop them finely. Mix the eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper, cheese, and chopped carrots.
Blend this mix until getting a homogeneous and smooth mixture. Pour everything onto a tray lined with baking paper and bake at 170° for five minutes, until the surface is cooked.
At this point, it will be necessary to take the tray and add lettuce leaves, cream cheese, and sliced bresaola.
Moist with EVO oil before closing the roll gently with the help of the baking paper. At this point, the roll will go back into the oven to finish cooking, for another five minutes.
When done, wait for it to cool up before cutting it and serve with salad or baked potatoes. To make the process easier, moist and squeeze the baking paper; in this way, it won’t cook together with the omelet. The tray, on the other hand, must have high edges to prevent the mixture from spilling under the baking paper.
This recipe also works well with zucchini instead of carrots and with string cheese instead of the spreadable kind.
Ideal for all those parents who cannot get their children to eat vegetables and need recipes that disguise them perfectly.
Bresaola rolls with friarielli and provolone
The recipe for bresaola rolls with broccoli rabe (friarielli) and scamorza is particularly tasty, representing a valid alternative to the classic rolls with arucula and Grana.
The latter, in fact, is mainly a summer dish while the version with broccoli rabe is a hot dish and thus ideal for the colder seasons.
The ingredients are:
- 100 g of thick bresaola;
- 200 g of broccoli rabe;
- 150 g of smoked provola;
- salt to taste.
First of all, rinse broccoli rabe and remove the stems. Cook broccoli rabe in a pan with plenty of oil, salt and, if you wish, garlic and chilli.
A healthier alternative involves boiled broccoli rabe: this process will also remove that bitter taste that is typical of this vegetable and make it sweeter.
When broccoli rabe is wilted and slightly “al dente”, turn off the flame and set them aside.
Dice the smoked provola cheese and set aside. Take the bresaola and place on each slice some diced provolone and a handful of broccoli rabe, roll the slices, and tie them with kitchen strings or a toothpick.
At this point, the rolls can be cooked on a grill or directly in the oven in order to make the cheese melting. Remove the toothpicks or the strings before serving. Garnish the dish with a handful of broccoli rabe.
If you can’t find this vegetable, you can replace it with any other leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage. This dish gives its best even with other ingredients such as broccoli or artichokes; The important part is to cook them for a long time, until you get a sort of patè.
The shape of the roll can also be different. You can have fun creating small bags or ravioli; the important thing is not to let the stuffing spill out.
The dish must always be served hot to prevent the provola from cooling down and losing its melted texture.
Always say yes to bresaola
We have seen how bresaola is one of the key ingredients for a healthy diet or even just for a less caloric dish without compromising on taste.
The advice is to indulge yourself in a long series of recipes that contemplate this ingredient, daring to your liking and combining the most unthinkable foods.
Always remember: when time is running out and you have no ideas, a plate of bresaola with a few drops of oil and lemon will be enough to enjoy a little piece of heave.