Mama Rosa Musi is the quintessential Italian grandmother: old enough to be believable as a grandmother but still young and vibrant enough to make a multicourse meal for forty in a tiny kitchen. Her warmth, graciousness and generosity make you feel like a family member within the first half hour of meeting her.

I arrived at her house in the village of Reverberi in the hills outside Parma as a guest of the consorzio that makes and markets Parmigiano-Reggiano. That afternoon, with the aid of her daughters, Lucia and Maria, Mama Rosa showed me how to make the stuffed pasta squares called tortelli, filled with ricotta (from the local dairy), chard and Parmigiano-Reggiano. For the pièce de résistance, I learned to make rosa di Parma, a whole fillet butterflied and stuffed with prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano, rolled, tied, rubbed with fresh sage, rosemary and garlic, and roasted.

Whole fillet is not cheap, nor are the ingredients used to give it flavor here. It’s a royal dish, worthy of the most elegant of dinner parties or special celebrations. The fact that its name, Rosa, matched our hostess’s was an appropriate coincidence.

This menu makes for a very festive holiday dinner for a dozen guests. If you are serving fewer people, reduce the size of the roast accordingly. You can ask the butcher to double- butterfly the fillet or do it yourself, as described below.