Lesso rifatto with kale

Lesso, in Italian, simply means boiled meat, usually beef or veal.

Lesso rifatto, literally redone boiled meat, is a ingenious way of eating leftovers, creating an entirely new dish.By all means, you don’t have to use boiled meat, and roasted meat can also be used. This is what I did.

There are many recipes for lesso rifatto. You can add wine if you like, and tomatoes would also be great in here. The most common recipes for lesso rifatto would include tomatoes and potatoes, lesso rifatto con le patate. Another popular recipe would include lots of onions, lesso rifatto con le cipolle. Traditional Tuscan lesso rifatto would be simply made with onions, carrots, celery, meat and broth.

However you choose to cook leftover meat, the result is exquisite, tender meat, flavoured with whatever vegetable you have in the refrigerator. The only reason I roast beef on Sunday night now is to eat leftovers.

Lesso rifatto col cavolo nero

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/2 rib celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pancetta, cubed
5-7 dried Porcini mushrooms slices
250 g boiled or roasted beef or veal, sliced thinly
1 bunch dinosaur kale, hard stem removed
vegetable, chicken or beef broth
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak the Porcini mushrooms in 1/4 cup hot water for twenty minutes.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, cook the onion, pancetta and celery until the vegetables are soft and the pancetta starts to crisp up, about 7 minutes.
  3. Drain the mushrooms, chop them finely and add them to the pan.
  4. Add the meat and the mushroom broth, continue to cook, stirring frequently.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the kale and more broth, and continue to cook until the kale is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Lesso rifatto with kale

3 replies »

  1. Nice picture. This looks pretty good. I’ve never heard the term rifatto and thought the word for boiled meat was bollito. I wonder how the two differ. Any idea?


    • Lesso or bollito, that is a great question. A lesso is usually made with tougher, less expensive cuts of meat, and the main purpose is to make a savory broth rather than to eat the meat. The meat of a lesso is usually cooled and kept to prepare leftovers, hence rifatto or ”remade”.

      A bollito, is a festive dish, made with more expensive cuts of meat, and prepared to eat the meat, and the broth is rather secondary. The meat from a bollito misto is usually eaten with salsa verde, pickles or mostarda di Chianti, a condiment made with fruits, sugar and mustard essence.

      I hope that clarifies this a bit. Leftover roast beef is great for this recipe, I wouldn’t go to the trouble of making a traditional lesso.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Really appreciate the thoughtful response. In all my reading/writing about food I’ve never come across this distinction. Thanks for the wisdom!


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