Saltimbocca alla Romana is a Roman classic that's super simple to prepare and loaded with luscious flavor. You really only need a few ingredients for this dish: paper-thin slices of prosciutto, fresh sage leaves, and very thin slices of veal - just the right size to fit perfectly under a slice of prosciutto. You'll also need butter to cook the veal slices, a little bit of flour for dusting and some good dry white wine to deglaze your pan and that's it!
The name of the dish really says it all: saltimbocca translates to jump in your mouth. It's so tasty it really does jump in your mouth.
Here in Italy when I head to the butcher to order veal slices for saltimbocca they know exactly what to give me. What you want to ask your butcher for is young veal, very thinly sliced – about ¼ inch or ⅔ centimeter.
You can prep the saltimbocca alla romana in advance and have it all ready to cook if you're serving it to guests. All you'll need to do is do is dust the saltimbocca with flour and cook it in hot and sizzling butter.
First cook a minute or two with the sage leaf side down and then turn to cook the other side, again no more than a couple of minutes. Place the saltimbocca on a serving platter and then use a whisk to quickly deglaze the saucepan with dry white wine. This is always fun if you have guests in the kitchen because the wine cooks off in a quick burst of flames - a fun little kitchen show for your guests! The wine cooks off in 5 to 10 seconds so no need to worry about a prolonged flaming saucepan. Once the saucepan is deglazed and the sauce slightly thickened drizzle it atop the veal and serve.
- 1 large sauce pan
- 16 toothpicks
- 400 grams Veal Scaloppini 8 slices
- 120 grams Prosciutto 8 slices
- 16 Sage leaves
- 100 grams All-purpose flour
- 80 grams Butter
- 100 milliliters White wine
- Salt and pepper
- Pat the veal dry.
- Place a slice of prosciutto and two sage leaves atop each veal slice.
- Use two toothpicks to attach the sage leaves, prosciutto and veal to each other.
- Lightly dredge the saltimbocca in flour.
- Melt the butter in the saucepan and heat until just sizzling.
- Beginning with the sage and prosciutto side sauté the veal just until done, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Place the cooked veal on a serving platter.
- Pour the wine into the saucepan and flambé until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened.
- Drizzle the sauce over the veal and serve.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Although veal is reasonably priced in Italy it can be costly elsewhere. I know some people prefer not to eat young veal. Not to worry, you can substitute the veal for thinly sliced chicken breasts and it's almost as delicious.
There's another Italian dish - Uccelletti Scappati - that's quite similar to saltimbocca alla romana, except the veal is rolled up into sausage-like rolls and held together with toothpicks. These sausage-shaped rolls use small pieces of bread and pancetta, brushed with lard and grilled.
Small beef slices rolled up around a piece of prosciutto and tied with string are called Involtini Di Carne. These are usually browned in lard with onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley and guanciale, then deglazed with white wine and slow-cooked in a tomato sauce.
Saltimbocca alla Romana is a favorite in my cooking classes:
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