Truffled Mascarpone and Prosciutto Rotolos


I think I had feelings today.  No, not my regular feelings like, “hungry” and “peevish”, but more feelings like….uh…..sentimental and romantic.  Gah.  Even just saying that might have eaten a piece of my soul.   Next thing you know I’m going to start buying carnations and listening to Magic Pan Flute.  I blame it on not being home very much for the last, oh, three weeks or so.  Apparently when I’m don’t see him much I start to miss that fiancé of mine (grwaaaawh!  My fingers!  They keep typing these wretched things!  Make it stop!) and it makes me want to do sweet things, romantic things, and silly sentimental things.

Note:  this is not my nature.  As soon as this article is posted I plan on waddling down the stairs to drink a six pack and practice belching my full name until I forget this ever happened.

I suppose that I should explain a bit.  Before I met Mike, I had been through other boyfriends (oh, had I ever!) with….limited success.  Even the one who stuck around the longest, aka The Worst Boyfriend Ever, we still didn’t really…you know….like each other very much.  I remember the first time that we went away together I was so miserable by the second day that I was considering whether it would be more prudent to steal his car and drive it back from Maryland myself, or see if I could hitch a ride to the airport and hope for a seat sale.  The SECOND trip we went on was to a resort in the Dominican….where we (finally) broke up on day 3, after almost 3 years of dating.  Yeaaah.  It was THAT GOOD.

Now flash forward a few years to when, after over 8 years of friendship, I finally started dating Mike.  I had pretty much resigned myself to crotchety spinsterhood, complete with cats and empty sherry bottles, but he turned me around.  He’s taught me that it is possible to crave the company of the one you’re with, and every trip we take just gets better than the last.  Why?  Because he’s my best friend, my lover, and my favorite person in every way.  I don’t think I’ll get through much more before I harf into my sleeve.

When we went to France this April, one of my favorite days was in Paris (oddly enough, not my favorite city) when it was drizzly and gray.  We spent the early afternoon dodging raindrops and touring my favorite museum (the Rodin), taking shelter under the canopy of trees in it’s majestic sculpture garden.  We shopped, we strolled, we wandered the city in our own way, and when we were finally beat we popped into a little boulangerie to pick up some picnic food for dinner.  That night, as we cozied up in the hotel with a spread of luscious French cheeses, freshly baked baguette, oily charred artichokes, cured meats and these surprisingly lovely little creamy and salty bundles of prosciutto wrapped joy, I didn’t think life could get much better.  In fact, I still don’t.

Truffled Mascarpone and Prosciutto Rotolos

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

  • 300 g prosciutto di parma*
  • 275 g tub mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp truffle oil **
  • 1 head frisée lettuce

* In any recipe with so few ingredients, you really want to buy the best that you can afford.  If it’s possible, avoid the pre-packaged prosciutto in the refrigerated meat and cheese section of your grocery store, and instead get opt for freshly sliced prosciutto from a reputable deli.  I’ve found the cost to be comparable from an Italian slanted grocery store in my area, and I like that when you buy freshly sliced prosciutto you can control the thickness.  You don’t want paper-thin shaved meat for this dish, because it will fall apart when you try to slather on the mascarpone.  However, you also don’t want meat that’s too thick because the salty flavor will overwhelm your delicately sweet mascarpone.  Opt for a thin and almost translucent prosciutto that holds it’s shape when cut.

** Truffle oil has a pungent and earthy flavor which is shroomy but not exactly similar to field mushrooms.  That said, if you aren’t a fungal fan, you can always omit this ingredient.  The potency of truffle oil will also vary by brand, so you might want to start with 1/8 tsp and add up according to your taste.  The truffle should be present, but not enough to overwhelm the creamy mascarpone.  Again, you have 4 ingredients here.  It’s all about balance.


Scoop the mascarpone into a medium sized bowl and add the truffle oil.  Mix with a spoon until the truffle oil is well combined and the mascarpone is smooth and light.

A quick note on the truffle oil:  it may seem like an expensive and gourmet ingredient, but it’s actually a bargain.  My relatively small 275 ml bottle was about $12, I believe.  If that was olive oil I probably would have crossed myself and slowly backed out of the store.  But for truffle oil?  It’s worth it.  You can keep the bottle in your fridge (tightly sealed, and brought back to room temperature before use) and it will keep for ages.  More importantly, a little goes a long way.  A few drops of truffle oil on top of French Onion Soup turns the ordinary into the orgasmic, and even a crostini topped with nothing more than fresh ricotta and a miserly drizzle of truffle oil is something I could consume as a meal.  Happily.  So that’s what I have to say about truffle oil.


Lay a piece of prosciutto flat on your work surface and dollop a small tablespoon of truffled mascarpone on top.  Gently spread the mascarpone to cover 1/2 of the prosciutto, holding the meat firmly as you do so and smoothing it lightly so that it doesn’t tear.  Pile a few leaves (about 2-3 good sprigs should do you fine) of the frisée onto the meat and roll it up.


You can slice the rotolos (which is just Italian for ‘rolls’) in half……


…or serve them in all their majesty, piled on a platter.


Everything in this dish is just enough.   The contrast of the gentle crunch of bitter frisée against the sexy and lusciously creamy mascarpone, nestled inside the toothsome and salty prosciutto, well, apparently it even turns bitter old ME into a romantic.  Simply put, this is just a sexy appetizer.  That’s all there is to it.


I say, find someone you love and make them this appetizer.  Or, since it could technically serve 6 as a small bite, bring it to your next speed dating session and see how you fare.  The person who pushes the plate away and keeps talking about their summer camp?  Ditch.  The one who reaches for a second, closes their eyes and says, “Ohhhhh….uhhmmm…..hmmmmm…..”, well, that’s got second date written all over it.

And so ends another questionable advice column from Choosy Beggar Tina.


  • Mike

    I love you too.

    (also, GOD DAMN I loved this appetizer, and ate almost the entire plate of them last night. So in a way I’m literally full of love. And cheese and meat.)

  • Jan

    This is exactly what I need for a potluck this weekend, thanks! One question: how far in advance can I make this (is overnight in the fridge ok, or will it suffer?)

  • Kristie

    Who the crap doesn’t like truffle oil? I think it’s cute that you guys like each other. I remember how shocked I was when I realized that I really LIKED Chris. I’d been in plenty of relationships where I’d thought I had feelings or whatnot, but there was always an undercurrent (or overcurrent) of loathing and resentment. It’s a wonderful thing to enjoy the company of your mate. And to be mentally stimulated by same. That’s how you know that you’re marrying the right person.

  • Margie

    That looks delicious. We make something similar with lightly sauted asparagus in the middle instead of the frisee. Then we pop it in the oven until it’s pretty much cooked through. Incredible. A little salty. But, I love salt. I’ll have to add the truffle oil next time. Good idea.

  • Tina

    Jan – eep! I’m never timely with responses. You can totally make these in a day in advance and keep them refrigerated. The greens are sturdy and won’t wilt that quickly, so your only real concern is that the meat can get a bit soft due to the hydration from the mascarpone. That’s not a terrible thing though, and it will also reduce the salty taste of the prosciutto. If you do end up making these, let me know if you love them as much as Mike and I!

    Kristie – Awww, you *do* have a a soft little soul! I think that you once summed it up best when you said that living with him was like having an awesomely fun sleep over party every night with your best friend, except with the added bonus that it’s totally not creepy to climb into bed naked. Hehehe. Still makes me snicker.

    Margie – asparagus wrapped in prosciutto is one of my favorites as well! And by ‘prosciutto’ I mean ‘anything pig’. Mmmm, salty bacon.

  • Jan

    I did make them; they were delicious! I subbed perennial arugula for the frisee (we grow the arugula, making it free, and it still has the peppery bite), and left out the truffle oil (I was feeding strangers, whose culinary horizons I was unsure of). Next time, truffle oil! I’ll probably stick with the arugula, though; it grows like a weed.

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