Stuffed Veal Breast is a traditional dish of the Northern Italian cuisine. We usually cook this tasty stuffed meat on Sunday or during the festivities.
There are many variations of Stuffed Veal Breast depending on the Italian regions. For example, it’s a very popular dish in Piedmont, where it’s often stuffed with the Langhe hazelnuts. In Emilia Romagna is called Picaja, and very famous is the Ligurian version called Cima alla Genovese, that is not cooked into the oven but boiled.
The veal breast can have many kinds of stuffing. I propose the classic version with spinach, ground beef, parmesan cheese, and stale bread softened in milk. Try it with Baked Potato Fans as a side dish.
Stuffed Veal Breast Recipe
- 700 g (1,5 lb) of veal breast
- 150 g (5 oz ) of ground beef
- 60 g (2 oz ) of stale bread
- 100 g (3,5 oz ) of spinach
- 1 glass of milk
- 1 shallot
- chopped parsley
- 1 egg
- a bit of nutmeg
- 60 g (2 oz or 3 tablespoons) of grated Parmigiano cheese
- 1 glass of white wine
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
Start preparing stuffed veal breast recipe soaking the stale bread into the milk and wait until it is completely soaked (1). In the meantime, chop finely the shallot (2) and cook it with boiled spinach into a pan for about 10 minutes (3).
When the spinach has cooled, add the squeezed bread (4), one egg, the parmesan cheese, chopped parsley (5) and lastly the ground beef (6).
Mix the stuffing, add a bit of salt and pepper and, if you like, a pinch of nutmeg (7).
How to sew and then close the veal pocket
Now is the time of the most delicate step of the recipe.
If you do not have a good and kind butcher, who prepares it for you, sorry but you have to do it by yorself: you have to cut the veal in the narrowest part, through the length; be careful not to break it and try to make a “pocket” as deep as you can (8) (9).
Fill the veal pocket with the stuffing, being sure to fill it all. also in the narrowest part (10). Now close the pocket, sewing it with kitchen twine (11). Put the stuffed veal breast in a baking pan with extra virgin olive oil, a glass of white wine, salt and pepper and bake at 180°/350F for 1 hour (12) covered with a sheet of aluminum. Take it off a quarter of an hour before the end of the cooking to make the veal roast a bit.
Let the stuffed veal breast rest for 1 hour so it become almost cold and slice it (make slices about 1 centimeter high) (13). You can taste this dish dressed with his cooking sauce and served with salad (14) or try it with Baked Potato Fans with Herb Butter.
What you have just read is the classic Italian recipe of stuffed veal breast. But in Italy there are many variations, starting right from the filling.
Here 5 tasty filling variations for a veal breast pocket:
- With smoked ham: in a bowl, put the bread soaked in milk and squeezed, add 100g chopped smoked ham, 3 tbs Parmesan cheese, parsley and 1 egg. Add salt and mix everything to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
- With ham and mortadella: Saute 1 chopped little onion in some butter; add 40g chopped ham, 40g chopped mortadella, 30g crushed pistachios and cook for another 2 minutes. Add soaked bread and stir.
- With ham, pine nuts and Taggiasca olives: Boil 100g spinach, squeeze them well, chop and cook them in a pan with a little butter for 2 min; add 60g chopped ham, the bread soaked in milk, 3 tbs Parmesan cheese, 30g pine nuts, 30g chopped Taggiasca olives, 1 egg and a pinch of salt and pepper then stir.
- With artichokes and sun dried tomatoes: cook 5 artichokes (cleaned and cut into pieces) in a pan with 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil and 1 chopped shallot. Put in a bowl soaked stale bread and add the 1 egg, 4 tbs of Parmesan, cooked artichokes, 20g pine nuts, a handful of thyme leaves, 30g chopped dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Mix and proceed as above.
- With vegetables: Boil 50g of peas, 50g of spinach, 1 carrot and 1 shallot. Meanwhile, cook in 1 tbs of oil EVO 1 garlic clove with a handful of parsley. Remove the garlic and add peas and diced vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, place the bread soaked in milk and squeezed, 1 egg and 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, stir and then add the vegetables. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Stir and the filling is ready.