Veal Saltimbocca is one of my favorite dishes, and makes a simple, elegant meal for any dinner occasion. This traditional Roman dish uses thinly pounded veal scallopine cutlets which are sautéed in butter and oil, then topped with crispy prosciutto and sage with a buttery white wine sauce.
This Romanesque Italian dish is usually served with a side of mashed potatoes or Piselli alla Romana – savory buttered peas sautéed with onion and pancetta (recipe follows). Make it a complete meal by serving with an Arugula salad, topped with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a dressing of EVOO and lemon juice and some fresh cracked black pepper. Enjoy with a glass of dry white wine and crusty Italian bread.
Veal Saltimbocca with Buttery Wine Sauce (Saltimbocca alla Romana)
1 lb veal scaloppine, ¼ inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 to 14 sage leaves
¼ lb thinly sliced prosciutto, slices halved
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
Sage leaves, for garnish
Place veal cutlets between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and with a meat pounder or heavy sauce pan, pound veal to 1/4 inch thick. Cut scaloppine in half crosswise and season on both sides with the salt and pepper.
Place 1 sage leaf on top of each scaloppine and cover each with a half piece of the prosciutto.
In a large skillet, combine 2 tbsp of the butter and the oil and heat over high heat. When the mixture starts to brown, add the scaloppine, prosciutto side down first for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and flip over scaloppine, sauté turning as needed, until the scallopine are evenly browned and cooked through about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the scallopine to a warm platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
To make the sauce, add the wine to the skillet and with a wooden spoon scrape the pan bottom to deglaze it. Increase the heat to high and allow the sauce to reduce until golden and syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Season with the salt and pepper, and pour over the veal. Garnish with the remaining sage and serve warm.
Roman Sauteed Peas with Pancetta (Piselli alla Romana)
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cups peas, fresh and shelled (or 1 package frozen peas*)
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. chicken stock or water
6 thick slices pancetta, chopped fine (can also use bacon or prosciutto)
1/4 tsp. sugar
Place butter and onion is a saucepan and saute over medium-low heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Add peas, salt, pepper, stock and pancetta; cook until peas are tender and pancetta and onions are cooked through. Add sugar, mix well and serve hot with Veal Saltimbocca.
*If frozen peas are used, follow cooking directions on the package after cooking the onion.
Recipes from Techniques of Italian Cooking, Institute of Culinary Education.