Rotolo Toscano: Ground beef roll stuffed with ham and cheese

Made in a manner, similar to a jelly roll, the Rotolo Toscano is seasoned minced beef stuffed with ham and cheese, and glazed with tomato sauce. 

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

This recipe was inspired by my friend Joan, who is a fantastic cook with an open mind.  She worked in the Detroit-Windsor auto sector back in the days when the booming industry drew many new immigrants in search of factory work.  As often happens with developing friendships, one way of learning more about each other’s cultures, is food and sharing recipes.

When Joan offered to make meatloaf one day she served what she called Italian Stuffed Meatloaf. Everybody thought it was amazing and I just loved how she elevated the mundane meatloaf to the epicurean realm. She passed along her recipe which I planned to make for some friends. When I found out that one had celiac I decided to make a gluten free version. As it turns out, this dish didn’t really need to have bread crumbs in it after all in my opinion. It’s a little denser than meatloaf but the flavours are more intense.

Rotolo Toscano
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins

The rotolo is Italian seasoned minced beef stuffed with ham and cheese, and glazed with tomato sauce.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Kevin Lamoureux
Meat Mixture
  • lbs. lean ground beef
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp dry onion soup mix
  • ¼ cup chile sauce
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp anise
  • ¼ tsp crushed dried chilies
  • ½ cup passata or crushed tomato for the glaze
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2-3 thin slices Prosciutto Cotto cooked ham
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large bowl, combine mixture ingredients
  3. Evenly roll out the mixture onto plastic wrap or wax paper making a ½ inch layer
  4. Make a second layer with the ham slices
  5. Spread out the cheese as the third layer
  6. Roll up the layers as a jelly roll with the help of the wrap/paper underneath
  7. Close the ends and form into a loaf shape
  8. Spray a broiler rack with non-stick spray then place loaf onto rack
  9. Coat loaf with the passata or tomato sauce
  10. Add a little water to the bottom of the broiler tray
  11. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes
  12. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving
Recipe Notes

You can make your own variation of the stuffing, using other Italian cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino, and adding spinach or basil leaves.  Refrigerate left over rotolo and serve the next day as a cold appetizer as you would a pâté or terrine. 

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