A classic dish I’ve eaten over my life’s many years. The accompanying vegetable can be just about anything, depending on what is in season, of course. Its all about freshness and seasonal ingredients in Italy! :) This particular recipe is for one of the more classic versions: Beef cutlets in tomato sauce and a side of spring peas.
I must credit the delicious, typical Roman restaurant in Trastevere (Da Lucia) for the dish depicted in my image here. I had the pleasure of ordering and eating this, mid-May 2018, and it was glorious!
4 thin and lean beef cutlets
8 paper-thin slices of Imported Italian Prosciutto (like Prosciutto di Parla or San Daniele)
500 grams of unseasoned/unflavored peeled tomato sauce (I recommend MUTTI or POMI brands)
1 bunch of fresh parsley
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 a medium onion
1 small brunch of fresh basil
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
To even out the beef cutlets, pound them slightly with a meat hammer
(Your could also use veal, which is more tender and offers a more delicate meat flavor)
Finely chop the parsley and garlic. Evenly rub the mixture all over the beef cutlets
(Many times, thinly grated Pecorino Romano cheese is added to this parsley/garlic mixture. I choose not to add the cheese because it is not in my diet)
Place 2 slices of the prosciutto on top of each of the four cutlets so they sit evenly within the borders of the beef.
Roll each cutlet into a tight roll and secure them with at least 2 toothpicks (so the rolls don’t come undone during the cooking process) - Lets call these fools by their Italian name: Involtini :)
Thinly slice the onion and sauté it until transparent (in extra virgin olive oil) in a deep sauce pan, over medium-high heat. Sizzle the involtini in the olive oil/onion mixture until browned
Pour the red wine into the sauce pan and let it cook down/evaporate to about half of the original amount
Pour the tomato sauce into the pan along with the whole basil leaves and a pinch of salt. Add an equal amount of fresh water (equal to the tomato sauce) into the mixture. Carefully turn the sauce with a wooden spoon to even out the ingredients (taking care to not unravel the involtini within)
Cover the sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid and lower the temperature to low. Let it cook for 1 hour (make sure to use the wooden spoon to turn the sauce and involtini every once in a while during this cooking process)
While the sauce and involtini are cooking, use another saucepan to warm up 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with part of the sliced onions. Reduce the temperature to medium-low, add the fresh spring peas, a pinch of salt, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. Set aside
Use tongs to grab one involtino at a time and put it on your plate (be gentle because they will have cooked thoroughly and will be delicate - you don’t wait them to unravel and fall apart). Add a ladleful of the tomato sauce to the plate and a spoonful of the vegetable side
BUON APPETITO! :)