(The Rotolo al Forno is in the foreground, just to the left of the deviled eggs.)
This is one of those recipes that is easy to prepare and sure to please. It is simply a wonderful combination of soft white bread, tangy mustard, tasty deli meat, and 2 kinds of cheese. Sounds just like a sandwich, right? Well it should, because that’s exactly what it is. Except for the fact that it’s kind of fancy and looks divine on a table, Rotolo al Forno is just your basic meat and cheese sandwich presented in a gussied up form. (Love that word – “gussied”.) Anyway, it’s lovely to behold and even lovelier to consume.
I first had this appetizer/sandwich/main dish many years ago when my friend Julie made it for a dinner gathering she and her husband Joe were hosting. At the time, most of our friends had small children, good jobs or were starting new businesses, but no what you would call “disposable income”. We were all just able to pay our mortgages, feed and clothe our children (if we had them), go camping in the summer, and afford box wine or Coors beer for occasions with our buddies. (This was the 70s folks, so cut us some slack on the box wine and Coors beer!) Where was I? Oh yes – so for all of us, this much meat and cheese in one dish was considered if not gourmet, pretty swell and elegant.
And that was Julies’ forte. She loved to try new recipes and the more labor intensive the better. So those of us who were her friends got to experience all kinds of new and amazing taste adventures. She was a true gourmet and taught me a lot about fine cuisine. Julie and Joe are now both deceased, but their friendship lingers on in our memories of fun get-togethers, fabulous New Year’s Eve parties and new and exciting dishes. This may not be an exciting dish, but it is never-the-less delicious. Try it the next time you have guests coming for lunch or you need a hearty appetizer. Just don’t forget to lift a glass to Julie. I’m sure from heaven she will lift a glass right back at you. Cheers everyone.
- 1 loaf frozen white bread dough
- Dijon mustard
- ¼ lb. thinly sliced deli salami
- ¼ lb. deli pastrami, thinly sliced
- ¼ lb. deli ham, thinly sliced
- 1/3 lb. thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 1/3 lb. thinly sliced Provolone cheese
- 1 beaten egg yolk
Thaw bread and let rise one hour. Punch down and roll out to approximately a 12×16-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush, spread a very thin layer of Dijon mustard over the bread dough. Layer with meat and cheese and roll up like a jelly roll. Pinch the seam together and place, seam side down, on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg yolk. Let sit uncovered for 30 minutes. Bake the bread in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the top is a dark golden brown.
Remove from oven and let sit for about 25 minutes before cutting into 1-inch slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: If you are going to bake the roll ahead of time, let the bread cool completely before you cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve, slice, plate, and warm for a few seconds in microwave.