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Oven-Cooked Veal

Vitello al Forno


The first time I prepared veal on my series I actually got some negative mail from a few viewers who felt that, due to their beliefs about the way that calves are raised, I should not have done the show. Still many other viewers wanted to know how to cook less expensive cuts of veal.

Since Ciao Italia is about the regional cooking of Italy, I felt that I could not leave out segments that dealt with veal, but it was a long time before I once again decided to cook it on the air, selecting Ossobuco as the showpiece. Another dish I like to prepare is veal shoulder, the blade cut, which is quite inexpensive, very tasty, and tender if cooked on low heat in the oven.

Make this dish ahead; it is even better the next day. It is best to cook this in a 12-inch ovenproof sauté pan, since the procedure begins at the stovetop and ends in the oven.


2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium red sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium leek, tops removed, washed and thinly sliced

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 pound button mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced

5 carrots, scraped and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 1/2 pounds veal shoulder chops, wiped dry

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Grinding coarse black pepper

1 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in an ovenproof sauté pan. Stir in the onions and leeks and cook the mixture over medium heat until the onions and leeks are wilted. Raise the heat to high, stir in the balsamic vinegar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar evaporates. Remove the onions and leeks to a dish and set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the pan, stir in the mushrooms and cook them until all their liquid has been given off. Remove the mushrooms to the dish with the leeks and onions.

Preheat the oven to 225ºF. Yes, I said 225 :)

Dry the meat well on both sides with paper towels and add the pieces in a single layer to the pan; brown them well on both sides. Sprinkle the meat with the salt and pepper. Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the carrots. Slowly pour in the wine along the side of the pan. Cover the pan tightly and transfer it to the oven.

Cook for about 1 1/4 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Ten minutes before the dish is done, sprinkle the rosemary over the top of the meat. Cut the meat into serving pieces; transfer the mixture with the juices to a serving platter and serve immediately.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA-BRINGING ITALY HOME by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2001.


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