Prosciutto & Leek Involtini
Meaning something like ‘small bundle’, involtino is the diminutive of the Italian word involto, which in turn is rooted in the Latin involvo and involutus (wrap, envelope, curl up). In Italian cooking, involtini are typically comprised of thinly-sliced meat rolled around other meats, vegetables, cheeses, and so on, then secured, braised and/or stewed in sauce. Involtini made from vegetable slices are also common, such as involtini di melanzana grigliata, or grilled eggplant rolls. Cured meats like prosciutto or bresaola are well-suited for involtini as a snack or antipasto.
The recipe here is for 10 to 12 involtini.
Remove the outer layer of tough leaves from leek. Slice into ¼-inch thick rounds and then rinse all the pieces well in a strainer and shake off the excess water.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the leek rounds for about 5 minutes, until soft but not mushy, stirring occasionally to ‘break up’ the rounds into ribbons. Salt and pepper lightly. Remove from the heat and transfer back to the strainer to let cool while also draining any liquid (there should not be much).
Make the béchamel by thoroughly combining the butter and flour in a non-stick saucepan over low heat until a thick paste forms. Add the milk and turn the heat to medium. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg and about ¼ teaspoon salt and continue stirring. The goal is a small amount of very thick béchamel. Let cool to room temp. Stir the cooked leek and the cheese into béchamel.
Place about a tablespoonful of the creamy leek mixture onto one end of a prosciutto slice. Sprinkle with a pinch of the chopped chives and carefully roll the meat around the filling to create your involtino. Proceed with the remaining slices. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.