About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.


Veal Archives

October 8, 2010

Pan-Roasted Veal with Garlic, Rosemary and White Wine

I gotta say, I'm liking this pan-roasting technique ... a lot. Maybe that's why so many Italian vacation rentals don't have ovens? Who needs them!

This is a great way to prep small birds (see the squab post) or roasts. Really, especially in the summer, when I don't want to heat up the entire house by lighting the big oven. Anyway, the recipe...

The hardest part of this recipe - finding the cut of meat. Marcella suggests a rolled shoulder (boneless) of veal but here in suburbia, where unfortunately, most butchers have fallen away, and even the supermarkets get their meat pre-cut, finding this cut of meat was difficult at best. I guess if I hadn't waited until the last minute, I could have ordered it online but time was of the essence, so I needed to find it the old-fashioned, in an actual store.

I called Whole Foods, and though they claimed to get it in, it seemed each time I spoke with the butcher, the meat, though ordered didn't arrive. I made Chris ask the "butcher" in our local supermarket. Of course he knew little about veal shoulder, how to get it or offered any assistance. Finally, I called the meat department for the Shop Rite in East Brunswick, where a most helpful man said he would order it for me and have it in the store the next day. He told me to come after 11:00 or even a bit later, because the meat delivery people sometimes ran late.

I arrived at the store at 12:50 as they were just unloading the truck. My meat man went out back and had them rush to get my order unloaded and then, because it came in an 8 lb roast (yikes) he sliced it down for me giving me a roast bigger than the 2 pounds Marcella suggested, something more like 3.25 to 3.5 pounds - no worries though I had the meat!

Pan Roasted Veal with Garlic, Rosemary and White Wine
Raw meet with a bit of garlic popping out, and rosemary atop

After that it was simple, mine was a huge chunk (not a roll), so I did as the directions suggested and made slits in the roast into which I stuffed the garlic. I got some fresh rosemary from the garden and sprinkled that liberally around the meet, browned, salt and pepper, and some wine, and boom about 2.5 hours later (took longer because mine was a larger cut), we had our roast. Chris, Becky and Fala approved.

Pan Roasted Veal with Garlic, Rosemary and White Wine
Roast out from the pan

Pan Roasted Veal with Garlic, Rosemary and White Wine
Sliced Roast with Juices

October 10, 2010

Pan Roasted Breast of Veal

Getting the ingredients this week posed a great challenge. It seems that there is a shortage of veal breast in the Midwest. First, I started with my local grocer and they didn’t have any and couldn’t order it. I then called three different butchers, ones that I have used before and that pride themselves on carrying a wide variety of meats. None of them had any. When I failed there, one of them recommended Whole Foods. I spoke to the butcher there and they didn’t have any either, and probably wouldn’t for awhile. Next, I tried Global foods, which had come through so nicely for me with the squid. No go, either. They hadn’t been able to get any in for the last few weeks. They said that it seemed to be back ordered. I then pulled out my restaurant connections. We called our food distributors to see if any of them could deliver the breast. One of them said that they have their own butchers and getting the breast wouldn’t be a problem. I spoke to Deborah and Irene and we ended up ordering all of the veal that we needed for the chapter together. Great!! The only problem is that when the order came in all they had were top round, veal shanks, loins and scallopine. No Veal Breasts!! Lovely. Now, what could I do? Well, I emailed Marcella and Victor and found that could use the top round roast as a substitute. It wouldn’t be the same, but should work.

The question that I am left with is, where have all the breasts gone!!! Has there been a mutation in veal cattle that have left them breastless!! I am generally not a conspiracy theorist, but I am thinking that something is going on here!!


Seriously though, the roast worked great. It is another simple recipe that has great flavor. Whole garlic cloves in Olive oil, heated until sizzling then the roast added with sprigs of fresh rosemary. The roast is browned on all sides and then white wine added. The roast is then cooked slowly until it is very tender.


This would be a great recipe for the middle of winter, when you are home all day with a crackling fire going. The house smelled great while it was cooking. My mouth was watering so much I have to admit I snitched a few tastes as I was turning it a few times. The broth that the roast cooked in was just heavenly. I can see how the breast would have been a bit different cooked this way, but I was very happy with the substitution. And the good news is that I have my veal set up for my next three postings!!! Life is good.

October 11, 2010

Ossobuco - Braised Veal Shanks, Milanese Style

How can you go wrong with braised meat? You can’t. This method is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook. I love how braising extracts very drop of flavor and tenderizing tougher pieces of meat. That is exactly what you need for cooking sections of a calf’s leg. I’ve never made this dish before but I have been in many great conversations about which restaurant makes the best version. This was another one of the dishes I was waiting to try first in Italy. With nothing but positive expectations, I proceed with the recipe.

I dusted the shanks in flour and browned them on all sides. Next, I cooked onions, carrots, celery, and lemon zest until they softened. In a heavy pot (I used enameled cast iron) stack the shanks on top of the veggies. Add some of Marcella’s glorious homemade meat broth, chopped Italian tomatoes, sprigs of parsley and spices before popping the pot in to the oven. There it will slow cook to perfection for a couple of hours.

All the ingredients cook down to fall of the bone tender veal resting in a rich, flavorful sauce. Yummy, Yummy! This was good. I’ve said it before and I will say it again… buy the cookbook. Meals like this are the reason why I will never become a vegetarian. This dish of comfort food just soothed my soul.

Ossobuco with Saffron Risotto

**I was so excited to taste the Ossobuco I forgot to use the Gremolada.

October 12, 2010

Ossobuco in Bianco - Tomato-Less Braised Veal Shanks

I do love Ossobuco. But it isn't the melting off the bone flesh that makes me crave the dish. Rather, it's the little jewel inside the bone. There is nothing as heavenly as that first silky spoonful of warm marrow.


Beth told you a bit about our hunt for veal in her post on Sunday. It was worth the effort. My shanks were beautiful and full of meat.


This version of Ossobuco is pure simplicity. Meaty hind shanks, salt & pepper, dry white wine, a little lemon peel and chopped parsley to finish. Five minutes of active prepping followed by 2-3 hours of waiting for the heat to work its magic.


An old high-school friend was in town this weekend for her neice's wedding. She came by for dinner tonight. We enjoyed our Ossobuco in Binco with oven roasted, herbed potatoes and a nice School House red from the Calif. central coast.

It was delicious.

October 14, 2010

Veal Scaloppine with Marsala


It's my turn to move on to veal. This recipe is another very simple recipe, with few ingredients-vegetable oil, butter, veal, flour, salt, pepper, and Marsala wine. In the Fundamentals chapter of her book, Marcella discusses Veal Scaloppine. She says the problem is finding a butcher who knows how to cut it properly. So she prefers to buy a solid piece of meat, a top round, and cut and pound it yourself. I bought the veal top round, and followed her directions for slicing the meat across the grain, then pounding it thin so it will cook quickly and evenly. I don't know if I did it perfectly, but it seemed to work nicely.

So back to the recipe. You heat butter and oil in a skillet. When hot, you dredge both sides of the scaloppine in flour, shake off the excess, and place in the skillet. Brown about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue cooking pieces until all of the meat is cooked.

You then turn the heat to high, add Marsala wine, and deglaze the pan. Add a little butter, and place the scaloppine back in the skillet. Turn them a couple of times to coat them with the sauce, and that's it-they're ready to enjoy.

I served mine with a green salad, and a celery risotto. Very quick, and very delicious.

October 15, 2010

Veal Scaloppine with Marsala and Cream

This chapter of Essential's of Italian cooking has been a challenge... VEAL. It is not something that we eat often. Ok... the truth... I have never cooked veal, but I do order it whenever I get the chance.
Now I have the reason to cook veal in my own kitchen.

Classic Veal with Marsala and Cream is a beautiful combination of flavors. The scaloppine is first dredged in flour then browned in butter and vegetable oil. Once the veal is lightly browned, remove it from the pan. Using the same pan, add marsalla and cook down the little bits in the pan. Add cream and cook to a thickened sauce.This is a simple and a beautiful blend of flavors. Essentially Marcella Hazan~ Essentials of Italian Cooking.

Remember to follow us along daily on Facebook or on the Pomodori e Vino Blog ...Much more Veal to come!
Ciao Y'all,

October 16, 2010

Veal Scaloppine with Lemon Sauce

One of our favourite things to order when in Italy is veal scaloppine. For some odd reason, given the many, many restaurant meals we've enjoyed over more than 9 weeks in Italy, I have never tried it with lemon. I was happy that my turn in the rotation allowed me to correct that.

No. I am not happy about my turn in the rotation causing a requirement for lamb kidneys in a few months but I guess you take the good with the bad.

This veal is good. Very good. Bloody good. So good that my mouth is drooling just thinking about how good this was when I originally made it back in June.


Tonight's swordfish is a disappointment before I've even started cooking.

Anyway . . .

Sure, this is a great tasting dish. It's simple too - the veal scaloppine is flattened (be sure to follow the directions Hazan provides on page 38) and dredged in flour. Once dredged, the veal is fried quickly in butter (mmmmmmm butter . . .). When cooked it is removed from the pan while a quick lemon sauce is pulled together.

Presto - you're done. Does a turn in the kitchen get any better than that?

If you've never cooked veal before allow me to provide a wee, but very important, tip. Dredge it in the flour IMMEDIATELY prior to cooking. If you dredge and let those scaloppine sit for a spell you will end up with a sludge-like coating.




Make sauce.


If you want sludge go to the Olive Garden. (eeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk)

If you want a well cooked and delicately flavoured dish buy Hazan's 'Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking' and cook up some love.

This veal is crisp - with the lemon sauce being the perfect counterpoint for the richness of the meat.

Some cooks suggest adding a splash of white wine to the pan as you make the sauce. Hazan does not and I am sure that there is a very good reason for this (as there is for ALL of her suggestions/directions/edicts).

There you have it, another Hazan hit to add to my cooking rotation.


October 17, 2010

Veal Scaloppine with Mozzarella


What can I say about this veal scaloppine recipe that has not been said in the last few posts? These recipes have a lot in common in that they are cooked really quickly over high heat in butter and then a served with a quick sauce. Today’s recipe is not an exception to that rule. In this instance the veal is not floured as it has been in other posts, but it is again cooked quickly in a butter/vegetable oil mixture. The individual pieces are then topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella and heated until the cheese softens. A little salt and pepper and the veal can be moved onto a warmed platter. The wonderful brown bits in the pan are loosened with a couple of tablespoons of water and then poured over the veal.

This was a wonderful dish, very flavorful. I have to admit that I had never thought to use fresh mozzarella in this way before, but I will definitely be repeating this in the future. It added a nice texture difference with the veal, and it absorbed the flavor of the sauce, so it tasted delicious. This was, if possible, even better as leftovers. I hate to admit a penchant for midnight snacks, but when you have something this delicious waiting in the fridge it is hard to resist.

October 18, 2010

Veal Scaloppine with Tomato, Oregano, and Capers

It's Monday. Normally you would see Irene's post here. Or, you would see Kim fulfilling her pinch-hitter roll. But, an unplanned, last minute trip for Irene meant she was unable to make her post this week. It was too late to ask Kim to take the day because Kim was in Venice (Lucky Kim).

So Deborah and Dan are "forced" to eat veal two nights in a row. Taking one for the team. Darn!


Tomatoes, capers, and oregano are the stereotypical flavor profile of Sicily that Americans have come to expect. And Sicily (or generally the southern part of Italy) is the predominant ancestral home of most of our St. Louis Italian community. One of the two ubiquitous veal dishes on almost every menu (the other, Veal Piccata) is Veal Parmesan.


The basic ingredients may be the same, but today's veal dish is as far removed from Veal Parmesan as Parma is from Palermo.

Veal Parmesan, at least the typical Italian-American restaurant version, tends to be heavy and rich. This dish, thanks to Marcella's steadfast refusal to add a single unnecessary ingredient to any of her recipes, is light and fresh - and delicious!


October 19, 2010

Veal Scaloppine with Ham, Anchovies, Capers, and Grappa

This is the sixth scaloppine recipe. Rather than discuss how tasty the dish was - and it was very tasty - I though I'd discuss the process of turning a piece of veal top round into respectable scaloppine.


Thanks to Marcella's very careful instructions on page 38 and the expanded comments she made on Cindy's post a few days ago, I was successful in producing beautiful pieces of scaloppine.

I began with a chunk of top round weighing about a pound, cutting it in 3/8" thick slices. When I made Irene's recipe yesterday, I ended up with pounded pieces the size of dinner plates. This time I cut the slices in half before pounding. That worked beautifully for me.


Now to the actual pounding. This photo shows the only tool I own. It is far from ideal. The head is only about 1 1/2" in diameter. That makes it much harder to stretch the meat as Marcella instructs without tearing. Next time I go to the kitchen store, I'm coming home with a proper pounder - the kind with at least a 3" head and a vertical handle instead of the hammer type, for more control.


This recipe calls for ham, capers, grappa, heavy whipping cream, and anchovies. I've already made my devotion to anchovies clear. I LOVE them. So, I was happy to have the opportunity to use them yet again.

In her instructions, Marcella gives us an interesting mini-lesson in grappa. Like wine, grappa comes from different types of grape. Some of the cheaper grappas are made with a blend of varietals, but the brand I buy is Lorenzo Inga . They pride themselves in their single varietals. I won't pretend to be connoisseur enough to really discuss the difference between Barolo, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Moscato, etc. Or to suggest which would have been better for this dish. I chose the Borolo grappa. Basically, because I like Borolo wine. (I've linked the company name to their website here so you can check them out.)

Marcella, I'd be interested in finding out what you and Victor think of my choice. Was Borola a good selection, or would you have chosen one of the others for this dish?

In contemplating what to serve with scaloppine, I settled on spaghetti as a side dish. I wanted to use the left over sauce from the pan to dress the spaghetti. So, once the meat had been returned to the pan then transferred to the serving platter, I added a small amount of butter and little of the pasta water to the leftover sauce. Then I tossed the spaghetti with that. We also had the peas from page 517 which I'll report on when we get to the vegetable chapter. There was one bottle left from the half-case of 2004 Veglio Barolo we had purchased on sale for less than $20.00 a bottle. This seemed to be a fine time to drink it.


October 21, 2010

Messicani - Stuffed Veal Rolls with Ham, Parmesan, Nutmeg and White Wine


Okay, I had a feeling about this one. I mean, come on, veal, ham, pork, parmegiano reggiano cheeese, bread, wine - seriously - what's not to like?

Chris sat at the table, took one look and said, "I think this will be a make again." Make again - that's the best rating at our house, because I try so many different recipes, they have to say, "Make again" in order to ever have a chance of seeing it again.

Chris took a bite and said, "Oh, yeah, definitely make again. Like tomorrow." Well, not tomorrow, but soon and Marcella, don't read this, but I may even try these with turkey (shhh).

So now that we got the result out of the way, let's back up for a moment. Originally, I wanted to make the veal roast garlic, rosemary, and white wine, another dish for which I'm subbing. But when I went to the meat counter out Whole Foods, they didn't have any veal shoulder - they'd been ordering it for a week, but none had shown up. They did have the "veal scaloppine" though so I bought a pound's worth remembering I also had this dish to do.

I was a little nervous about not slicing my own scaloppine, following Marcella's directions, but I think these worked great. They still seemed a bit thick to me, so I "pounded" them, using her directions for really pressing and stretching (who knew you weren't supposed to pound? not me.).

I also grabbed my food processor to chop up the bread (actually the hollowed out center of a Portuguese roll because the Italian bakery was out of bread by the time I got there), and then I used it again to finely chop the ham. I did not use it however to "grate" my parmegiano, instead doing that by hand with my box grater. I don't know about you all, but I don't like to use my food processor for "grating" parmegiano. I find whenever I did use it, the cheese never melted properly, attaining a very funny consistency.

Stuffed Veal Rolls
Veal rolls with a dollop of stuffing on top

Once the scaloppine were pounded and the stuffing mixed, I spread it on each, and rolled, not too tightly though. The first one I rolled tightly but I found the stuffing squeezed out the sides, so the other three, I did loosely. I pushed toothpicks through two rolls, but the other two were larger, so I got out wood skewers (the kind you barbecue with), and used those to fasten the rolls, then I snipped their ends so they would fit in the pan.

Stuffed Veal rolls

Dredge, brown, and simmer and that's it.

Stuffed Veal Rolls

Stuffed Veal Rolls

Oh, my sauce was a little thin at the end, so I boiled it down as Marcella suggested (probably could have gone another minute or so - probably did three or so).

Stuffed Veal Rolls

It was all delicious and actually not too taxing for a weeknight meal. I started as Chris left to take Sammi to swim practice and dinner was ready about five minutes after he returned. And as Chris said, we'll definitely be making this one again.

Stuffed Veal Rolls

October 22, 2010

Veal Rolls with Pancetta and Parmesean


This was a very interesting recipe for me. I had never cooked veal before!
I first had to pound out the pieces to a proper thinness. Marcella wants the pieces to be about 5 inches by 4 inches and after cutting each piece in half they were pretty close.
Here are the before and after photos of the veal pounding process:





Each piece is covered with a thin slice of pancetta and grated parmesan cheese:


And then rolled up:


They are browned “deeply” in a combination of oil and butter:


Then the pan is deglazed with wine and tomatoes are added, to make a fantastic sauce.

We absolutely LOVED the result! I reminded me of veal rolls I ate at Osteria Orto dei Mori, in Venice, which were one of my favorite things I ate on that whole trip.

Not having cooked veal (or any beef, for that matter) I was really surprised at how rich the sauce was with the simple addition of a little butter and the ingredients remaining in the pan (fond, wine, tomatoes).

Would I ever make this again? YES! It’s a beautiful special occasion dish.

October 23, 2010

Veal Rolls with Anchovy Fillets and Mozzarella


We really love veal scaloppine and cutlets, so I was excited about learning and trying a new preparation for veal.

When reading any new recipe, I always read through the list of ingredients before grocery shopping to make sure I have everything I need. For many recipes NOT in The Essentials of Italian Cooking, I OFTEN tweak the recipe, either to put my own spin on things, or to add an ingredient I like or delete something that doesn't work for me. But we Pomodori do NOT make changes to Marcella's perfected dishes!

A few weeks ago, I confessed my aversion to tomatoes (and beans). Marcella said, "Palma, you make me weep. No fagioli in your life, no oven-browned tomatoes, no pure tomato sauces?" Well, this recipe had, you guessed it, a tiny bit of Italian plum tomatoes. I couldn't make Marcella cry, now could I? I bought the can of imported plum tomatoes. I figured, "It's only a third of a cup for the whole recipe! I can do this! The other ingredients will mask the tomato flavor."

Suprisingly, with my somewhat picky tastes, I loved all the other ingredients: anchovies, parsley, fresh buffalo mozzarella. I also love to deglaze with Marsala and sniff the wonderful aroma that it produces in the kitchen.

Kim and Jan did a great job of photographing the "pounding process" of the veal. I really appreciated Marcella's directions for FLATTENING the scaloppine. I shudder to think how many cutlets I have beaten the hell out of over the years!

A sauce is made with butter, smashed anchovy fillets, parsley, pepper, and the tomatoes. It is spread over the veal slices, topped with thinly sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, rolled and tied like a package with kitchen twine.

I have a HUGE roll of kitchen twine that was my mom's! She passed away in 1984, and I am still using it! I have fond memories of helping her in the kitchen as a child, and holding down the string with my finger as she rolled roasts and tied the knots. My mom would say that using the twine was like "wrapping gifts from the kitchen". I am sure I cannot use all of this twine in my lifetime.

The rolled veal "gifts" are lightly dredged in a little flour immediately before going into the pan with foamy butter. When the rolls are removed, Marsala is added to the pan to make an aromatic sauce for the veal rolls be turned in.

The filling is lovely, tomatoes and all. The perfect blending of the anchovies, butter and parsley, and the addition of the mozzarella kept me from even knowing they were there! The Marsala "sauce" is fabulous with the whole thing. This recipe was fun, easy, and really delicious. I will definitely make it again! I have more scaloppine, so I look forward to trying some of the other recent recipes.

October 24, 2010

Veal Roll with Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffing

For this post, I have the best of everything. The right cut of veal and my two best friends in town to help me eat it!



The recipe starts with a piece of top round veal. I didn’t have a flat piece so I butterflied it and then pounded it until it was the right shape. The stuffing begins with chopped prosciutto sautéed with onion in butter and oil. Then spinach is cooked down, squeezed dry, and then chopped fine. This is then added to the prosciutto and onion mixture and cooked for a short time. This mixture is then spread over the top of the veal and then rolled up. I secured the roll with oven safe silicone rubber bands. I find them to be a good alternative to tying with kitchen twine. The roll is then browned in butter and oil until it is brown on all sides. Wine is added to the pan and then the roll is cooked for an hour and a half. The roll is taken out and then cream added to the pan and cooked down.



This dish was a hit. I served it with tagliatelle noodles topped with the Butter and Rosemary Sauce recipe from earlier in the book. It complemented the veal nicely. My friends are really good cooks, so I was glad to hear them both asking for the recipe after they practically licked their plates clean. We served it with a 2008 Santa Christina Toscana wine and enjoyed a meal filled with lots of laughter and joy. There is nothing better on a nice autumn afternoon, then to have a house filled with good friends and good food.

October 25, 2010

Sauteed Breaded Veal Chops - Milanese Style


I butterflied veal chops and pounded them until thin. The chops are dipped in egg, rolled in plain bread crumbs, then fried until golden brown. Simple and delicious.

October 26, 2010

Sautéed Veal Chops with Sage and White Wine

No question, this was by far our favorite dish in the veal chapter.


It’s week thirty-one of sixty-two weeks. We are at our half-way point. I beg your indulgence while I take this opportunity to reflect on the journey.

What began as a fun challenge and a way to introduce home cooks to the teachings of the undisputed queen of Italian home cooking, has turned into a 62 week master course for me.

I think back to my first few recipes in the appetizer chapter and how I chaffed at the limitations on ingredients.

I think about the hard battle convincing me to abandon my more-is-better mindset.

I think about the sort of student I might have seemed to Marcella, had we been in a real class instead of this virtual classroom.

It's very likely she would have been tempted to throw a pot at me. She most certainly would have given me more than one verbal dressing-down.

I've always claimed to love 'real' cooking while not caring to bake. It's because I knew I couldn't tinker with a baking formula for risk of failure. But, so what if I substituted basil for sage in this veal dish? Adding garlic to a soup that doesn't call for it is just being creative, right? What's the big deal?

During these last thirty-one weeks, strict adherence to the recipes as a foundation of our challenge has served to slowly mature and refine my attitude toward classic Italian cooking. I've avidly read each and every day's post. I've more avidly read Marcella's comments. I am continually amazed and grateful that she takes us seriously; that she allows us to turn this into a learning experience; and especially that she cares enough about our success to always tell it like it is.

So, back to the subject at hand. Sautéed veal chops. Main ingredients: Veal chops, sage and wine. No basil, no garlic, no hot chili flakes, no kitchen sink.


The dried sage leaves added the perfect fragrance and flavor to the delicate veal during the sauté. The white wine during deglazing and then the silkiness of the butter rounded out the flavors.


We enjoyed our veal with a lovely Spanish table wine from the Toro region, and the Green Bean recipe from page 474. I'll be reporting on that dish on January 11th.


I admit to selfishly serving myself most of the fried sage leaves. I hope Dan didn't notice.

October 28, 2010

Veal Stew with Sage, White Wine, and Cream


Okay, it's my last veal recipe. Another chapter I've really enjoyed. Today, it's Veal Stew. I had pieces of veal shoulder in my freezer from another recipe-I think it was a filling for ravioli.

For this recipe, you heat vegetable oil and butter. You then toss the veal pieces with flour, shake off the excess, then add them to the hot oil/butter. You brown until a deep brown, then remove the meat from the pan.

You then add a little chopped onion and sage leaves in the pan. The recipe calls for dried whole leaves. I couldn't find any whole leaves, but I found dried that wasn't rubbed, so it was in pretty large pieces. Cook until the onion is golden, then add the meat back to the pan, along with some white wine, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 45 minutes. You then add a little heavy cream, turn the heat to low, and cook another 30 minutes. A nice thing about this recipe is that Marcella says it can be made several days in advance.

I served mine with a nice Israeli couscous, that I cooked in chicken stock with a little sauteed onion and celery. I was planning on serving the stew with polenta until I discovered I was out. We loved the stew. The sage flavor is quite strong, so you need to like sage, but what a great combination of veal, sage, and cream.

October 29, 2010

Veal Stew with Tomatoes and Peas

Luckily, it has turned into a beautiful fall here in Alabama. I know I am biased... but the season's change is wonderful here. The oranges and reds of the maple trees looks like a picture. If it could just stay this way all year!

A pot of veal stew is just the ticket on a cool fall evening. Marcella's recipe is thick and flavorful... as always.
My recipe for veal stew includes tomatoes and peas. Simple ingredients, layers of flavor; once again the perfect example of 'Essentials of Italian Cooking'.
The veal is browned in butter and olive oil, then the onions are browned in the same pan. Add the best canned Italian tomatoes and cook over a low heat for about 50 minutes . Add the peas and cook until they are done. The stew will be thick and flavorful.
I served it over baked polenta, which is a lot like a grits casserole... comfort food at it's best!

Remember to follow us along daily on Facebook or on the Pomodori e Vino Blog. Marcella has followed us along and leaves encouraging comments!

Ciao Y'all,

October 30, 2010

Veal Stew with Mushrooms

T'was the night before Hallowe'en, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a louse.
The cookbook was sitting on the counter with care,
In hopes that Marcella's genius would soon be laid bare.

The veal was cut, dipped in flour, on and on I was led,
Be sure that the onions and garlic are chopped fine, she said.
Next I browned the cubes quick in a snap,
Although one or two did fly out of the pan and become scrap.

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
I rushed from the kitchen to see what was the matter.
Away to the hall I flew like a flash,
To find Paul eagerly sniffing the delicious scents from the stash.

The rosemary, sage, and parsley were next, you know,
and the wonderful scents from the kitchen did grow.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a hungry Paul staring at the stew with a leer.

'Not yet, not yet, it won't be quick!',
Although the scents made one positively lovesick.
More rapid than eagles the wonderful scents they came,
And Paul whistled, and shouted, and stared at the flame!

Now hurry up and cook don't be a vixen!
Be sure to stir as the flavours are mixin'!
The mushrooms are sauteed, large and small,
And then dumped in the stew, I do recall.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
Those luscious scents kocked me askew,
soon I was eagerly awaiting my dinner too.

And then, in a twinkling, I realized I was a goof,
The wine had been forgotten - ooof.
As I drew in my head, and fell to the ground,
I slowly realized that hope was still around.

With the cats and Paul all underfoot,
I knew that eventually good eating was afoot.
The wine was added, I was back on track,
Things were smelling so good that I refused to snack.

When I finally served the stew up, Paul looked at me and said 'Jerry!
all other stews this one really does bury!
What did you do, I need to know!',
I smiled and said with a glow . . . .

'I measured the ingredients and followed the words beneath,
And the wonderful scents encircled our heads like a wreath.
While you were busy watching shows on the telly,
I listened to Marcella and made the kitchen so wonderfully smelly!'

She really is a wonderful cooking elf,
And to celebrate her genius we raised a glass to her health!
With a wink of Paul's eye and a twist of his head,
He gobbled up his stew and reached for some bread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And making sure that he gobbled it all up like clockwork.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up from the table he rose!

'He left me with the dishes', I thought with a bristle,
Hmmmm . . . next time I shall serve him nothing but gristle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he ran out of sight,
"Marcella rocks my world, more cookbooks she MUST write!"

(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore )

Happy Hallowe'en y'all!

October 31, 2010

Skewered Veal Cubes and Pork Sausage Pan-Roasted with Sage and White Wine

Finally, I drew a recipe in which I could use the special sausage that Deborah moved heaven and earth to get made. (thanks again for including me in your haul!!) As the title states this recipe involves veal cubes and sausage on skewers. It also has large pieces of pancetta and fresh sage leaves added to round out the flavor. These are browned in oil and then white wine added to the pan and cooked for about a half an hour. It was a very simple recipe to prepare. Marcella recommended that these skewers be served with soft polenta, so that is what I did.


Michael and I really enjoyed these. The veal cubes which had the sage leaves cooked on to them were especially delicious. I now can appreciate the difference that the simple flavor of the “special sausage” can make in a recipe. I think that if I had used the normal Italian sausage, which is loaded with spices and fennel, it would have negatively impacted the overall flavor of the dish. The beauty of this dish comes from the simple differences in the flavors and textures of the meats. Another dish to add to the make again column!


November 1, 2010

Vitello Tonnato – Cold Sliced Veal with Tuna Sauce

I’m glad I was able to get a veal roast. After making this, I cannot imagine using any one of the substitutions. Thanks Beth!


This is a simple but sophisticated recipe. The first step is to poach the veal in a broth of vegetables and water. While that is cooling I prepare the sauce. After 32 weeks of cooking, I was finally able to make mayo. About time! The tuna sauce for this dish is a blend of homemade mayo, tuna, anchovies, capers, olive oil and lemon juice. The sauce is spread on a platter and layered repeatedly with the cooled, thinly sliced veal. The dish is then refrigerated for 24 hours. It is brought to room temperature before serving.

first layer

This dish was a success. I liked it but I cannot explain why. I can definitely see this being served at a dinner party. With each bite I can taste the sweet, tender veal and all of the ingredients in the tuna sauce. My palette recognizes all the flavors but I’m not sure I am appreciating them fully in this combination. Perhaps the right wine pairing would make this all come together. I’m not sure what would be a choice. Please leave me a comment if you have a vino suggestion.

serving of Vitello Tonnato

November 19, 2010

Roast Easter Lamb with White Wine

Marcella herself says this recipe is simple—simple and delicious, I say! It reiterates to me how the simplicity of technique can make big flavors.

I found a 2 and a half pound, organic lamb shoulder through our local Golden Acres Ranch


All I had to do was brown it nicely and cook it on the stove top until it was done. The garlic and rosemary lent earthy notes to the meat.


The sauce was the best part—just water added to the pan drippings. Nothing fancy but full of flavor.
We ate it with roasted potatoes and a mix of kale and collards, sauteed with a little garlic.


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