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Vitello Tonnato (Cold Sliced Veal with Tuna Sauce)

Source: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
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Active Time:  25 Minutes
Total Time:  26 Hours 25 Minutes
  Makes 8 servings
Italy's most celebrated contribution to the cold table, vitello tonnato, is a dish as versatile as it is lovely. It is an ideal meat course for a summer menu, an exceedingly elegant antipasto for an elaborate dinner, and a most successful party dish for small or large buffets.
For Veal:
2 to 2 1/2 pounds lean veal roast, preferably top round, firmly trussed, or turkey breast or pork loin
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery without the leaves
1 medium onion, peeled
4 sprigs parsley
1 dried bay leaf
For  Sauce:
Mayonnaise prepared as described below, using 2 egg yolks, 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 seven-ounce can imported tuna packed in olive oil
5 flat anchovy fillets
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons capers, soaked and rinsed if packed in salt, drained if in vinegar
Suggested Garnish:
Thin slices of lemon
Pitted black olives cut into narrow wedges
Whole capers
Whole parsley leaves
Anchovy fillets
Other necessary recipes:
Mayonnaise for Vitello Tonnato
FOR VEAL: In a pot just large enough to contain the veal (or the turkey breast or pork loins), put in the meat, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, bay leaf, and just enough water to cover. Now remove the meat and set it aside. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil, then put in the meat and when the water resumes boiling, cover the pot, adjust heat to cook at a gentle, steady simmer, and cook for 2 hours. (If it's turkey breast, cook it about 1 hour less.) Remove the pot from the heat and allow the meat to cool in its broth.

FOR SAUCE: Make the mayonnaise. Drain the canned tuna, and put it into a food processor together with the anchovies, olive oil, lemon juice, and capers. Process until you obtain a creamy, uniformly blended sauce. Remove the sauce from the processor bowl and fold it gently, but thoroughly into the mayonnaise. No salt may be required because both the anchovies and capers supply it, but taste to be sure.

When the meat is quite cold, retrieve it from its broth, place it on a cutting board or other work surface, snip off and remove the trussing strings, and cut it into uniformly thin slices. Smear the bottom of a serving platter with some of the tuna sauce. Over it spread a single layer of veal (or turkey or pork) slices, meeting edge to edge without overlapping. Cover with sauce, then make another layer of meat slices, and cover again with sauce. Repeat the procedure until you have used up all the meat, leaving yourself with enough sauce to blanket the topmost layer.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. It will keep well for at least a week. Bring to room temperature before serving. When you remove the plastic wrap, use a spatula to even off the top, and garnish with some or all of the suggested garnish ingredients in an agreeable pattern.

Recipe courtesy of
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan
Published by Alfred A. Knopf,
a division of Random House Inc.

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Makes 8 servings
Calories: 792
Fat. Total: 72g
Fiber: 1g
Carbohydrates, Total: 3g
Sodium: 453mg
% Cal. from Fat: 82%
Cholesterol: 157mg
Protein: 32g
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