Italian Talisman Italian Cook Book

Falso Magro alla Siciliana (False Lean, Sicilian Style)

I kind of stumbled across this recipe in Ada Boni’s The Talisman Italian Cook Book and was attracted to its sheer audaciousness only to later learn that that audaciousness is precisely the point of the dish.

Falso magro, or false lean, is a kind of tongue-in-cheek joke for this over the top holiday roast that disguises itself as a humble lean roast. Cut inside and a ridiculous cornucopia of assorted meat, cheeses, and hard boiled eggs abound in this exercise in protein overload. Leave it to the land of Cosa Nostra to hide its abundant taboo riches behind a cover of humble respectability. If you’re looking for a showstopper for your next Italian dinner party, it’s hard to imagine a recipe that would illicit more shocked cries of horror and perverse attraction.

However, if you take care to balance out this sinful extravagance with a heavy dose of veggies, there’s no reason you can’t dine like the Devil himself while wearing an Angel’s robes.

Final note: I have included the recipe as it appears in Ada Boni’s cook book, however, my personal experience is that the ground meat mixture yields too much to fit into the rolled roast and I only used 2 hard boiled eggs not 4 for the same reason.


4 slices of bread
1/2 lb ground beef
2 raw eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp Romano cheese, grated
Dash of nutmeg
2 tsp parsley, minced
2 slices bacon or pancetta
4 hard boiled eggs
3 slices of Italian salami
1/8 provolone cheese
1 lb of bottom round steak
2 tbsp lard
1 onion
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 small cans tomato sauce
2 lbs peas


  1. Soak bread in water, squeeze dry and add to ground beef.
  2. Next, add raw eggs, egg yolks, Romano cheese, nutmeg, and parsley. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pound the steak as thin as possible and then spread with ground beef mixture.
  4. Next, layer bacon, sliced hard boiled eggs, salami, and provolone on top of ground beef mixture. Roll into a long log and tie firmly together with twine.
  5. Brown roast in lard along with sliced onion.
  6. Add wine and cook until evaporated.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and then add tomato sauce. Add enough water to cover roast and simmer for 1 hour.
  8. Add peas and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  9. Remove roast, cut twine and slice into 1 inch pucks. Serve with sauce.