The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘veal rollatini’

Cooking in Naples…Florida, that is!

In General Articles on January 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Here we are, on vacation, in Naples Florida, mooching off of the Nearys for a week, and guess what, first Betty and then I am called upon to cook. Sometimes one just can’t get away from the stove; but to loosely quote Harry Truman, ‘if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.’

Challenged to come up with a dinner plan a few days ago, after our hosts had outdone themselves with delicious meals, Betty hit upon the idea of making her Paella. With the help of sous chef Joan, she prepared a superb dinner that the four of us lustily consumed along with a couple of bottles of Rioja. There was very little left after several of us revisited the Paella Pan for seconds. Served preceded by a soup, or another first course, this recipe should easily feed six people.

My introduction to Paella was at El Faro in the West Village, about 55 years ago. I had never had anything like it before! Chicken, sausage and seafood mixed with rice, what’s not to like? Dorothea began making her version of it shortly thereafter and Betty’s is based loosely on hers. I say loosely, because my mother hardly ever wrote down a recipe and hardly ever measured out the ingredients, so we really don’t know what her version was, only what was in it or what was not. But as to the proportions of each ingredient that’s anybody’s guess.

Thankfully my wife kept a record of what went into her Paella this time and what quantity of each ingredient was used. She also documented each step and we are pleased to share it here with you as Paella Isabella.

Last night it was my turn in the kitchen and my challenge was to prepare something that 8 people would enjoy and which would not require me to be in the kitchen after the other 4 guests arrived. After considering Veal Saltimbocca and Veal Rollatini, both of which would require too much last minute preparation, I opted for a pasta dish with a flavorful sauce that could be prepared leisurely in the afternoon.

I decided to make a variation of Rigatoni all’ Oltrarno, reducing the amount of eggplant by about two-thirds, dispensing with the olives and hot pepper and adding instead, 2 pounds of Italian sausage, both the hot and sweet kind. Accompanied by a few bottles of Chianti Classico Riserva and several loaves of crusty Italian bread, there were no complaints from the gathered dinner guests. In honor of our generous hosts and longtime friends and traveling companions, this pasta dish has been named Rigatoni Neri.

Veal Rollatini with a Marsala, Demi-Glace Sauce

In Meat, Recipes, Veal on January 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Veal Rollatini

Three different Italian Regions are represented in this dish: Valle d’Aosta in the northeast, where Italian Fontina is produced; Emilia-Romagna, the breadbasket of Italy for Prosciutto di Parma and Sicily the home of Marsala and the wine named after the city, as well as France where Demi-Glace originated.

Preparation time, 45 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes. (Makes 12 veal rolls -serves six)

Ingredients:

2 lbs. Veal Cutlets trimmed for scaloppine (about 12 slices)
½ lb. Prosciutto di Parma
3/4 lb. Italian Fontina cheese, sliced thinly
12 basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup flour
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
12 oz. + ¼ cup Dry Marsala (see Note)
12 sage leaves, finely chopped
4 tbsp. Veal Demi-Glace

Preparation:

1.    Have the butcher slice and trim the veal for scaloppine, telling him you need 12 cutlets.
2.    Pat the veal dry on both sides and lay slices on a cutting board with narrow end facing away from you.
3.    Sprinkle top with fresh ground black pepper to taste.
4.    Layer on two slices of Prosciutto di Parma.
5.    Cover prosciutto with sliced Fontina.
6.    Place one basil leaf on top of the cheese, at the end closest to you.

Layering the Veal

7.    Carefully roll up the veal and other ingredients away from you so that the narrow end is on the outside of the rollup.
8.    Secure each roll with two toothpicks.

Rolled Up

9.    Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
10.    When all of the rolls are secured, dip them one by one, in the egg and then in the flour and set aside.
11.    In a 14 inch non-stick skillet, on high heat, melt the butter.
12.    When the butter is bubbling, add the floured veal rolls and brown for about 3 or 4 minutes turning every minute until all sides are lightly browned.
13.    Lower heat to medium, add the 12 oz. of Marsala, cover the pan and cook the veal rolls for 6 minutes, turning each roll after 3 minutes.

In the Pan

14.    To make the sauce, remove Rollatini from the pan and keep warm in the oven.
15.    Add remaining ¼ cup of Marsala, the sage and demi-glace to the pan, stir and reduce to desired thickness. Return veal rolls to the pan along with any accumulated juices and turn once to coat well with the sauce.
16.    Transfer the Rollatini to a serving platter,  pour the sauce over them and serve immediately. Remind your guests about the toothpicks.

Note:  You can also use Sweet Marsala as well, however, I prefer the Dry type for this dish. This is a matter of taste preference and availability.

Where Have All the Butchers Gone?

In General Articles on January 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM

While attending high school, I held a number of after-school and summer jobs. It was easy to find work growing up in Inwood in the 1950’s, as there were many stores that needed delivery boys;  the drug stores, the florists, the dry cleaners, the fruit & vegetable stores, the deli’s, the fish markets and the butchers. There were not many cars in the neighborhood then, so we delivery boys either hoofed it, or made our runs on delivery bikes.

My delivery boy career included a cleaner, a fruit & vegetable store and a butcher; the latter was located on the corner of 207th Street and Sherman Avenue and was called Wal-Fred’s. I don’t recall either a Walter or a Fred, but think I remember a Tommy and a Patsy (Pasquale), both Italian-Americans, who were either brothers or cousins.  I’m lucky I can recall even that, but one thing I will never forget is the smell.

The delivery boy was also the one who cleaned the store after his delivery rounds were completed. There were chicken cases to be scrubbed and display trays to be washed; there were butcher blocks to be scraped with a steel brush; there were fat /offal cans to be washed out and deodorized and there was the floor to be swept and covered with fresh sawdust before the store was closed for the night at 6:00 pm. Aside from the tips, one of the best aspects of the job, was on a hot summer’s day being able to walk into the meat locker to cool down before heading home to my non air-conditioned apartment.

One by one, in most neighborhoods and towns, the little stores that provided these jobs disappeared as supermarkets and mega-markets made their appearance. And with the proliferation of cars and vans, deliveries are more often made by motor vehicle rather than on foot and bike. Of all of these businesses that have disappeared, the loss of butcher shops strikes me as the saddest.

Buying meat wrapped in plastic and placed on a Styrofoam tray is a far cry from asking the butcher to cut you a steak to a particular size, or to slice the veal cutlets and pound them into scaloppine or even to find certain specialty cuts like Osso Buco on the day you want to make it, rather than wait for the next warehouse delivery.

On a recent trip to New York, we visited our favorite butcher, Vincent’s Meat Market, on Arthur Avenue in The Bronx. At Vincent’s you are able to get the type of service that was standard back when there were butcher shops in every town and neighborhood. On this latest trip we brought back with us both 2 pounds of Veal Scaloppine and 4 lbs. of Osso Buco. The Osso Buco, which were two inches thick, were too large for one person, so at our request the butcher cut them in half horizontally with his electric band saw. Try getting that done in your local supermarket, even if you can find Osso Buco.

The veal cutlets, having been rolled and stuffed with Prosciutto and Fontina cheese, served six as Veal Rollatini for dinner last week. The Osso Buco was prepared Milanese style (without tomatoes, which in my opinion detract from the intense veal flavor) and served four for dinner on New Year’s Eve.

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