Veal Rolls with Pancetta and Parmesan
1 pound veal scaloppine, cut from the top round, and flattened, as described below
1/4 pound pancetta, sliced very, very thin
5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sturdy round toothpicks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or canned Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
1. Trim the scaloppine so that they are approximately 5 inches long and 3-1/2 to 4 inches wide. Try not to end up with bits of meat left over that you can't use. It does not really matter if some pieces are irregular: It's better to use them than to waste them.
2. Lay the scaloppine flat and over each spread enough pancetta to cover. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and roll up the scaloppine tightly into compact rolls. Fasten the rolls with a toothpick inserted lengthwise so that the meat can be turned in the pan. If any pancetta is left over, chop it very fine and set aside.
3. Put 1 tablespoon of butter and all the oil in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam begins to subside, put in the veal rolls, and turn their to brown them deeply all over. Transfer to a warm plate, Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove all the toothpicks, and sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper.
4. If you had set aside some chopped pancetta, put it in the skillet and cook it over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the wine. Let the wine simmer steadily for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes while using a wooden spoon to loosen cooking residues from the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the tomatoes, stir thoroughly, and adjust heat to cook for a minute or so at a steady simmer until the fat separates from the tomato.
5. Return the veal rolls to the pan, warming them up for a few minutes and turning them in the sauce from time to time. Take off heat, swirl in the remaining tablespoon of butter, then turn out the entire contents of the pan onto a warm platter and serve at once.
Ahead-of-time note: These veal rolls don't take that long to do and they taste best when served the moment they are made. If you must make them in advance, cook them through to the end up to several hours ahead of time, then reheat gently in their sauce.
Pounding scaloppine: Once cut, scaloppine must be pounded flat and thin so they will cook quickly and evenly. Pounding is an unfortunate word because it makes one think of pummeling or thumping which is exactly what you must not do. If all you do is bring the pounder down hard against thes scaloppine, you'll just be mashing the meat between the pounder and the cutting board, breaking it up or punching holes in it. What you want to do is to stretch out the meat, thus thinning and evening it. Bring the pounder down on the slice so that it meets it flat, not on an edge, and as it comes down on the meat, slide it, in one continuous motion, from the center outward. Repeat the operation, stretching the slice in all directions until it is evenly thin throughout.
Yield: For 4 servings
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