when i first read this recipe in ‘molto italiano’, batali’s introductory words to the dish included the sentence, "as i get older i am liking simpler things – based on the best ingredients", the letters jumped off the page and italian-kissed me firmly on the lips – with feeling. and then i fell in love with mario all over again, and i knew this dish would be mine. because i suppose i can’t have mario. not that i think i’d necessarily want mario – although he sure would be one helluva entertaining guy to be around on a regular basis. and breakfast in bed would surely rock… that is if cary would just move over a smidge.
but getting back to reality, you look at this ingredient list and the way it all comes together and the next thing you know, you’re thinking, not only can i make this with ease, but i will be a rock star. maybe not in the bono category but definitely, michael stipes.
(these rolls are too close together, which is another way of saying i made a mistake…)
except for one thing. because if you think that skewering the rosemary through these babies (how true a word if there ever was one) was easy, you are so wrong that you don’t even know how wrong you are. and for the record, this rosemary was not of the flimsy kind. it was branchy rosemary. and still the rolls needed to first get punctured with metal skewers – and only then could the rosemary travel the distance. mario fails to mention this, probably because either he’s not the skewer’er and/or the veal from my calf could’ve kicked the veal from his calf’s ass. i’m telling you, we had some seemingly tough veal. because i swear we pounded the meat as thin as could be, but once they’re all rolled up… well, all i’m saying is that until we arrived at a viable technique it was a struggle - and i don’t think that in the end, it even imparted much flavor. it was just a cool presentation factor…
but – that’s all merely a technical difficulty, right? the true integrity of this dish was not breached in any way.
i made the executive decision to toast the pine nuts. mario, does not mention this at all. listen to mario or listen to me. the choice is yours. this is america and you are a free citiizen, although probably in debt.
8 slices veal top round, about 4 oz each
1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped italian parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts – toasted
1/4 cup dried currants soaked in warm water 1 hour, drained
8 sprigs of woody rosemary about 5 inches long
salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil
preheat the grill
using a mallet, pound each slice of veal between 2 oiled pieces of tin foil to 1/16", careful not to tear the meat
lay each piece out on a work surface
in a medium bowl, stir together the pecorino, bread crumbs, parsley, pine nuts and currants
season the meat and divide the mixture among the veal, spreading it out thinly
roll each piece up tightly, starting from a short side and secure with toothpicks
lay 2 veal rolls side by side, about 1/2" apart and skewer with the rosemary
repeat to make 3 more sets of veal
season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil
grill turning once for 3 to 4 minutes a side until nicely charred but still medium
serve immediately with something green
it’s a great dinner party dish. assemble earlier in the day and then grill quickly just before everyone sits down. i served the veal rolls with grilled lemony, garlicky asparagus. it was an overall hit, but you know how it goes in the world of blogging… doubtful to ever be seen again.