Food writer and author Felicity Cloake says... "The area around Marseille has some truly excellent Italian food, thanks to the many migrant sailors and dockers who settled there. This robust pasta dish, a speciality of Sète, a little way along the coast, was very welcome indeed on a stormy summer night after a day battling city traffic."

In her book One More Croissant For The Road, Felicity tells tales and shares recipes from her weeks cycling and eating her way around France. Buy it here on Amazon.


  • 4 thin slices (about 600g – see notes below) chuck steak
  • 4 pork sausages
  • finely chopped to make 4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp (optional) pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp (optional) golden raisins or sultanas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ -½ tsp piment d’espelette (see notes below) or mild chilli powder, according to taste
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 400g macaroni
  • to serve parmesan, finely grated


  • STEP 1

    Put the chuck slices between sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin to bash the steaks out as thinly as possible (the butcher could also do this for you). Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

  • STEP 2

    Slit the sausages and spoon the meat out into a bowl, discarding the skins. Stir in the parsley, garlic and pine nuts, and raisins if using. Put a line of sausagemeat at the short end of one of the steaks and then roll up and secure with a toothpick, cutting off any excess meat at the end. Repeat with the rest. Roll the remaining stuffing into balls.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oil in a large casserole over a medium-high heat and brown the beef in batches, followed by the stuffing balls and excess meat. Scoop out onto a plate.

  • STEP 4

    Turn down the heat and fry the onions until very soft and golden, adding a splash more oil if catching, then stir in the fennel seeds and chilli powder, and fry for another 2 minutes.

  • STEP 5

    Stir in the wine, scraping to dissolve any crusty bits on the bottom of the pan, and then add the tomatoes. Season, arrange the meat on top and bring to a simmer. Cover and put in the oven for 21⁄2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

  • STEP 6

    Towards the end of cooking, cook the pasta in plenty of salted water following pack instructions. Serve with parmesan on the side for sprinkling over.

Piment d’espelette is a mild, fruity chilli powder from south- west France – it’s easy to find online here but regular mild chilli powder will do instead. Order chuck steak slices from the butcher.

Check out more of our best French recipes here...

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