If you don’t want to cook but like to impress at a dinner party, bresaola is what you should look for in an antipasto. Bresaola is Italian air-dried, salted beef that has been aged two or three months. Like carpaccio (raw beef) it is often served with shaved parmesan, roasted pine nuts and arugula, but it has much more flavor. Bresaola has a very rich pleasant flavor. I like to brush the bresaola with a bit of aged balsamic vinegar. The good stuff is called aceto balsamico tradizionale, is aged for at least 12 years, and very expensive. But you only need half a teaspoon or so per serving. 

This is so easy you don’t really need a recipe, but I’m writing about this anyway because it’s so good. Bresaola with the same toppings are also great on freshly baked ciabatta bread as a wonderful sandwich.


For each serving

6 slices of thinly sliced bresaola, about 55 grams (2 oz)

1 tsp roasted pine nuts

small handful of arugula

some freshly shaved parmigiano reggiano

1/2 tsp aceto balsamico tradizionale (or lemon juice)

1/2 Tbsp good extra virgin olive oil


Roast the pine nuts for about 10 minutes at 150C/300F or until golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Arrange the bresaola nicely on individual plates.

Brush with the balsamic.

Cut slivers of parmigiano reggiano.

Put a handful of arugula on the middle of each plate. Garnish with the pine nuts and shaved parmigiano. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil.

That’s all. Perhaps you’d like to add some freshly cracked black pepper as well. Serve with crusty Italian bread or ciabatta.

Wine pairing

If you go easy on the balsamic, this is a very forgiving this that could work with a prosecco, a full-bodied white, a dry rosé, or a light red. A very dry lambrusco could be great as well.

22 thoughts on “Bresaola

  1. GORGEOUS. I love these flavors and textors – particularly the contrast of the salty cured beef, bright greens, sweet balsamic, crunchy pignoles and sharp cheese. Beautiful presentation – I could gladly eat the whole plate right now.

    I jokingly call bresaola Jewish prosciutto…It’s an awesome substitute for people who don’t eat pork… I love it! 🙂

    Beautiful recipe, Stefan. Very elegant.


      1. I have seen bresaola in high-end, specialty food stores where one buys artisan, European meats and cheeses. Most big American cities have a few of these places… one would not find bresaola at the supermarket, that’s for certain! 🙂 I am not sure if I could find bresaola in a Jewish deli… but definitely some pastrami, roast beef and tongue! haha.

        Have a great weekend. 🙂


    1. According to other readers from the US bresaola can be found but not very good quality, perhaps you’ll get lucky? There have to be delis in a major city like Boston that have it.


      1. I live in the western part of the state… we’re a little “hurting” out here for Big City Things !! ; o ) You know, I’m thinking they sold it in Malta… I’m gonna go look up Bresola.


  2. I have had bresaola as an appetizer in the main dinning room of the ship. It was marvelous. Serving with balsamic (condensed?) sounds to be a wonderful combination. I really appreciate your talent and choice of varieties of dishes/menu that weonly see in a 5 star restaurants. Thank you for the pleasure of watching what you create.


    1. The good balsamic (aged 12 years or longer and made of only grape most, not vinegar) doesn’t need condensing. It is expensive though.
      Thanks for the very nice compliment, Fae!


  3. Isn’t there a French cured meat that is similar to Bresaola — viande sechée or something like that? Anyway … I personally adore bresaola … and thought you’d like to know that in Italy … it’s what the ladies who are on a diet eat all the time!!! I love your idea of spooning balsamic directly onto the bresaola …


    1. According to Wikipedia, there is something called Brési from the Doubs region in France (on the border with Switzerland) that is similar, and also similar to Swiss Bündnerfleisch.
      In Holland the meat is simply salted and smoked (“rookvlees”) without spices, has a sharper flavor and is not as dry. It is also in a lot of diets because it is very low fat.


  4. Very nice, Stefan. The final dish, with its “floating” Parmigiano flake, is a beauty. I’ve had bresaola each time I’ve been to Italy but only once here — and that was a disappointment. I think I’ll keep the dish as yet another to eagerly anticipate when I return to Italy. 🙂


    1. Many readers have commented how hard it is to find good bresaola in the US, which I find strange as it keeps very well and so it should be possible to import it. Oh well, you can never have too many reasons to visit Italy 😉


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