Saturday, October 1, 2016

the world on a string

The WesternBEEF butchers were happy to offer a long length of butchers twine the other day when I told them I needed it to tie up one of their sumptuous veal breasts.  Let’s make a classic arrosto di vitello zucchini ripieno:  veal potroast with zucchini filling. 
They sell inexpensive veal breasts with the ribcage still intact which is great because the per pound price is lower and the bones make fantastic veal stock. 
But we start with fresh zucchini. Half them and scrape the seeds out with a spoon.

Start some bacon and fry it till crisp while you julienne the squash, then set the bacon on absorbent paper and drop the zucchini into the very hot fat.

Now let’s prep the veal. Take a sharp paring knife and free the slab from the bones. You can trim off the membranes and fat, too, get it nice and clean and pound it a little thinner if it’s too chunky to roll.

While your zucchini browns...

...crack an egg into a bowl and grate some reggiano parmigian. We’re going to make a quick omelet.

Grate some pepper, let it brown and flip it, this omelet must cook through.

Now set the omelet on a plate and start to prep the meat. Pepper it, coat it with reggiano...

...and then add the bacon in a line.

The omelet comes next, then your zucchini...

and now we tie it up.

Make a slip knot like a little lasso and use that to grab one end of the roll, then work your way down the roast, tying it tightly as you go. Trim the strings and the veal roll will look like this.

Yum. We’re getting there.

Now melt some butter, were gonna brown the roast.

Brown it gently on all sides in the butter, then add an inch of veal or beef stock, cover it and turn the heat down. It simmers this way, covered, for about an hour and a half. Mmmmmm. Your loft will smell fantastic.

Set the table and get everything ready while you let the veal simmer for about an hour, then swing into the pasta and it will all finish up together. I used penne rigate but use your favorite. Boil it till al denté, drain it and we’re ready to go. 

We’ll need some fresh broccoli rabe, a couple good tomatoes and a lot of garlic. Get it all washed and prepped in advance because once we get started there is no time to pause. 
Everything ready? Andiamo!

Sauté your garlic in a good olive oil until it starts to golden and then toss the pasta in.

Mix it about, grate some pepper...

...and then add the broccoli rabe. We’re making a base for the veal roll.

Keep it moving and when the rabe is softened...

...add the tomatoes.

Now timing becomes critical. Work quickly and keep everything moving so nothing starts to burn.

The tomatoes will soften and get saucy and begin to coat the pasta. Add another good grate of cheese, salt to taste and toss it all again and then turn the heat off. We’re ready to plate the meal.

Go get your veal roll, it’s done and ready for slicing. Whoa. See that beautiful cross section? So festive!

And the taste is simply awesome. The meats and vegetables come together into a beautiful Italian blend with added protein from the egg, and it’s all presented on a classic base of pasta, tomatoes, garlic and the rabe. Wash it all down with a good Nero d’ Avola from Sicily or a well aged Barolo? 

Ha! We’ve got the world on a string.


  1. Aziza IngramApril 30, 2011

    Oh My God, That Looks Delicious!!!

  2. Thanks Aziza. I'm relieved to say my dinner guest that night choked it down so as not to hurt my feelings. ;-)

  3. Damn you can sure make a mf'er hungry! I've got to make this dish.

  4. mf'er?

    Hm. I'm surprised the Google censors didn't catch that. ;-)