Each ingredient we use at basilico has been painstakingly researched – from the flour we use in our secret recipe dough, to the tomatoes for our sauce, to our wide array of innovative and imaginative toppings. And this week, it is all about our bresaola.
When people think about cured meat, they usually think of pork – Prosciutto, Parma ham, salami – but Bresaola is pure, Italian beef. Made from the top round meat (from the rear legs of the cow), part of what gives bresaola its deep, rich taste is the fastidious trimming process it undergoes. Every scrap of external fat must be removed, which results in a low-fat, high-protein, utterly delicious meat, once cured.
The cuts of meat are coated in a dry rub of salt, juniper, and laurel. It is then left to cure for a few days, before dry-aging for up to 3 months, until the outside of the beef is hard and the meat is a dark purple-red. The result is a lean, tender meat, best eaten wafer-thin.
Part of what makes bresaola so unique is where it is made. Produced in the valley of Valtellina in Italy’s northern Lombardy region, bresaola is made from prime free-range cattle who live in the mountains there. The meat is left to cure in Valtellina’s dry climate, in the perfect temperature for meat curing. In fact, the connection between place and product is so strong that you cannot make bresaola anywhere else. The meat carries a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) so any dried, salted beef made outside Valtellina must be called by a different name.
Our bresaola is made by one of Valtellina’s oldest families. The Lazzeri company have been curing meat for generations, and their product is still made according to a recipe handed down over the years. Although they are constantly looking to adapt and improve their techniques, much of the process has remained the same for decades… because it simply cannot be improved upon. Each individual piece of meat is crafted by hand, checked daily, inspected with an artisan’s eye and an expert’s experience. The Lazzeri want to preserve the tradition that the very best food is to be found in the natural world, a tradition we wholeheartedly support.
Usually enjoyed as an antipasto, bresaola should be served no warmer than room temperature – which makes adding it to a pizza something of a challenge. In the end we came up with our Burrata Bresaola pizza, which lets the quality ingredients sing for themselves. Tomato sauce is heat retentive, and since bresaola is best served cool, we decided to create this pizza with an unusual white base. To protect the bresaola further, we added a zingy layer of rocket, with slices of our cured beef and smooth burrata on top - the jewels in the crown. The result is a crispy, creamy, rich pizza which lets the flavours of Italy do the talking.
Hungry yet? Why not order one now!
prosciutto crudo is an italian dry cured ham made from the hind leg - not to be confused with proscuitto cotto which is a traditionally cooked ham.
ecuadorian cocoa is known for its amazing floral aroma and notes of dried fruit. combined with fresh full milk and white cane sugar, the result is an ice cream with a lingering complex flavour.