Roll magical pine nuts and pistachios with some bacon into thin veal cutlets. Gently braise and you will be rewarded with a veritable feast for your taste buds. This veal roulades with pine nuts and pistachios recipe is from our family cookbook. My grandmother was a master of involtini di vitello con pistacci e pinoli.Jump to Recipe
Pine nuts for potency and roulades
How do you like pine nuts? Do you also prefer them lightly roasted on a crispy salad or in a pesto? For a very long time, people in Italy believed in the magical healing powers of the aromatic cone seeds. A recipe with honey and pine nuts, which should be eaten in the evening, caused a furore. In the morning, a chopped onion was added to the honey and pine nuts. After three days, the patient is said to have enjoyed the best of health as well as the power of love. The big business with the small seeds led to the cultivation of widespread pine forests around Ravenna. Today these amaze nature lovers with their unique flora and fauna.
Trees for skilled climbers
The cones are picked by hand – a skill that is passed down from generation to generation in Italy. Armed with a stick with a cutting sickle, gloves, crampons and a safety helmet, you climb up the pine trees, which can be up to 20 metres high. Harvesting takes place every three years, which is the length of time that the trees need to fully develop their seeds. Because of this, Italian pine nuts are also more resinous and aromatic than their one-year-old Chinese competitors. To get to the seeds, the cones were formerly placed in the sun for three to four months. Today, an oven speeds up this process considerably.
Pistachios for the Queen
Legends are also entwined around the pistachio. Originally, the pistachio is from the Middle East. The legendary Queen of Sheba is said to have declared the nut a royal fruit, and the common people were forbidden from eating it. The pistachio was first introduced in Rome in the first century BC and quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean region. The small green nut was used as a dye, and, because it remains fresh for a long time, was regarded as perfect as food to take on journeys as well as a commodity. The pistachio was also considered a panacea, a universal remedy effective not only for toothache but also for cirrhosis of the liver. So two magical seeds meet in these veal roulades!
Veal roulades with pine nuts and pistachios
- 4 veal roulades / thin veal cutlets
- 25 g pine nuts
- 25 g pistachios
- 1 egg yolk
- 40 g Parmesan grated
- 40 g Pecorino grated
- approx. 8 thin slices Pancetta alternatively South Tyrolean bacon or Guanciale
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp thyme
- 200 ml white wine dry
- approx. 50 ml water or clear soup
- 1 tsp corn starch or potato starch
Roast the pine nuts in a pan without fat until golden brown. Peel and coarsely chop them. Grate the Pecorino and Parmesan and mix together with the egg yolk and one third of the pistachios and pine nuts.
Gently pound the veal cutlets until thin. If they are too big, it is better to cut them up. The roulades should neither be too wide nor too thick. Lay the veal on a work surface and spread a thin layer of the nut-cheese mixture onto it. Place approximately two slices of Pancetta on each. Ideally, the bacon should protrude slightly, gets tucked under the meat, thus keeping the filling in place when cooking. Now roll everything up into roulades and fix with toothpicks.
Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a frying pan. Fry the roulades well in the melted butter. Add a shot of white wine and season with thyme, pepper and salt. The second third of the pistachios and pine nuts can now be added. Cover and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the roulades a few times.
As soon as the wine has evaporated, add some more wine, or, alternatively, you can add some water or soup. My grandmother was a true believer in stewing slowly when making this dish. It is very important that you do not pour all the liquid over the meat at once: the roulades are not supposed to boil in the liquid.
Take the veal roulades out of the pan and keep warm. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the sauce in the pan, thicken with some starch and cook the sauce to your desired consistency. Serve the veal roulades on pre-heated plates and pour the sauce over them. Garnish with the remaining pistachios and pine nuts.