Beef olives with dumplings

Beef olives with dumplings

Passatelli con involtini di bue

4 (makes 4 beef olives)
Laura Edwards

This dish is in honour of Sabine, my partner in happiness, who was born in Germany and is the perfect executor of this typical German dish with Spatzle, an instantly made pasta. The pasta is also found in the north-east corner of Italy, where the gastronomic culture is a bit more German. The Italian passatelli are made and cooked more or less in the same way.



Quantity Ingredient
450g italian ‘00’ flour
4 medium eggs
130ml sparkling mineral water

Beef olives

Quantity Ingredient
4 large thin slices beef topside, 5mm thick and about 15cm long, 10cm wide
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
8 rashers smoked streaky bacon
4 small dill-pickled gherkins, cut into strips lengthways
plain flour, for coating
50ml olive oil


Quantity Ingredient
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 leek, cleaned and cut into slices
100ml red wine
Beef stock, to cover
salt and pepper, to taste
a knob unsalted butter, (optional)


  1. Mix together the flour, eggs and mineral water to make a soft dough for the dumplings, cover with a tea towel, and set aside.
  2. Put the four slices of meat on to a work surface and spread the mustard thinly on each. Cover with the onion, then lay two slices of bacon lengthways on it. At right angles place the strips of gherkin. Roll each beef olive up and secure with kitchen string, taking care to seal well. Dust with flour and fry in the oil in a large pan to brown each side. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the carrots and leek to the same pan and fry a little in the remaining oil, then add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate for 2 minutes. Place the beef olives in the pan, cover with the beef stock (if necessary you can use stock cubes), and cook slowly for 11/2 hours.
  4. Just before serving take out the meat and liquidise the sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. My personal input at this stage, is to add a knob of butter.
  5. When ready to serve, bring a large saucepan of slightly salted water to the boil, and lay across the top a Spatzle or passatelli gadget. Put only part of the dough on this at a time, and with a spatula force the dough through the holes to let pasta pellets drop into the water. Repeat until all the dough is used up. The Spatzle will be cooked when they bob to the surface, probably within about 3 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, and drain well. (Or, in the absence of a special gadget, the large holes on a grater will work – just use a knife to cut the Spatzle off into 5mm chunks. However, the dough needs to be stiffer.)
  6. Mix the pasta with the sauce, cut the beef olives into thick slices and arrange them on the top to serve.


  • You can of course serve the sauce with potatoes or normal gnocchi.
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