Legendary Dishes | Rolitos / Brajoli (layered meat rolls)


Generally the tradition throughout Europe is to use pork or veal to make layered meat rolls, but Malta and Gibraltar share the beef method, as a consequence of their culinary and cultural connections. It is not unusual to see rolitos made with chicken.


  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 320 g beef (rump or sirloin), cut into 4 pieces, each flattened into 10 cm x 16 cm rectangles
  • 1 aubergine, cut length-wise 2 cm thick into 4 slices, grilled
  • 50 g hard cheese, grated
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cured ham (serrano) slices
  • 30 ml olive oil, for marinade
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 4 toothpicks

Bring stock to a low boil.

Marinade aubergines, garlic and tomatoes in the oil for 30 minutes.

Grill aubergines and tomatoes, leave to cool in juice and oil from grill pan.

Season meat, place ham on top of each piece followed by the aubergine slice, four tomatoes halves, grated cheese and two basil leaves.

Roll tightly, secure with toothpick.

Simmer in stock for 90 minutes.

Bragioli / Brajoli

Maltese traditional cuisine can be very tasty without using the very best cuts of meat. This tasty speciality is part of the Maltese peasant and rustic recipes, that can also be served as two meals, using the sauce with pasta as a first course.

  • 600 g topside / round beef, cut into 100 g slices, flattened with a mallet
  • 500 g beef mince / veal mince
  • 120 g gbejniet cheese, grated
  • 2 rashers of smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten


500 ml water
300 g onions, diced
250 ml red wine
250 g tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
5 g pepper
5 g salt
2 bay leaves

Start with the sauce: chop and fry onion and garlic in olive oil until softened and golden.

Add tomatoes, herbs, red wine and water and leave to simmer while you prepare the bragioli.

First, lay out the beef slices. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Place then a heaped tablespoon of stuffing mixture on each beef slice, spreading out well.

Roll it up and secure it with a toothpicks or tie with butcher’s twine. Place the bragioli in the sauce and simmer for 90 minutes over low heat.