This recipe comes from Lidia Bastianich an Italian American chef who owns several restaurants in the States, has written countless cook books and made a number of television shows – she’s sort of the Barefoot Contessa of Italian food. I find her recipes to be very approachable and totally authentic, despite her many years living in the States Lidia’s recipes have stayed true to their Italian roots. I’ve made this dish on numerous occasions and I’m always blown away by it’s amazing flavour. Every mouthful packs a punch, from the tender veal to the cheesy goodness of the taleggio stuffing which seeps into the tomato sauce making it rich and creamy. This dish is deceptive in appearance, it may look like a simple veal chop braised in tomato sauce but once you start eating it you realise you’ve been duped and that this is veal chops and tomato sauce like you’ve never had before. I teamed the veal with soft polenta but you could also serve it with mashed potatoes or even pasta. If you can’t find good sized veal chops you can substitute with free range pork chops instead which are sometimes easier to find than veal chops.
Ingredients – Serves 4 Adapted from Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small in pieces, no larger than ½ inch
1 cup best quality Italian tomato passata
150g taleggio cheese, cut into small thin pieces
4 slices Italian Prosciutto, sliced thin
4 bone-in veal chops, each about 280g and 1-inch thick
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅔ cup dry white wine
1 cup tomato passata
8 fresh sage leaves
freshly ground pepper
1⅓ cups chicken stock
Cook the broccoli florets in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain the broccoli and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly. Place the broccoli and the cheese into a small bowl and mix to combine. Taleggio cheese is quite soft so it will become sightly mashed up with the broccoli which is fine.
Lay a veal chop flat on a cutting board. Make a horizontal cut through the meat all the way to the bone. With the smooth side of a meat mallet gently pound each side until the veal is about half a centimetre thick. Place a slice of prosciutto over the butterflied veal chop, then place a quarter of the cheese and broccoli mixture over the prosciutto, smoothing it down to cover the veal. Fold the other side of the chop over the filling, press down the edges to seal slightly and fasten with a couple of toothpicks. Don’t worry too much about getting a perfect seal – some of the cheese will ooze out into the sauce regardless and this is what makes the tomato sauce so tasty. Press the stuffed chops gently to flatten them slightly. Repeat with the remaining chops. Season the stuffed chops with salt and pepper, then dredge them in flour to coat all sides lightly.
Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until the butter is light brown. Add the chops to the pan and cook until the underside is golden, about 4 minutes. Turn the chops, scatter the sage leaves around them and cook until the second side is golden, about 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato passata, bring to a boil, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat so the sauce is simmering and cook, covered, until no trace of pink remains near the bone and the sauce is syrupy, about 12 minutes. Turn the chops and baste them with the sauce several times as they simmer.
The chops can also be cooked in the oven: Preheat oven to 180C. After adding stock to the pan, set the uncovered pan in a hot oven and bake, basting periodically for 15 minutes.
Transfer the chops to warm plates and spoon some of the sauce over each.