Don’t let the fancy Italian name throw you off: this dish is as straightforward as they come.
“Involtini” simply translates to “rolls,” and this scrumptious main dish features tender veal cutlets rolled up with provolone cheese, savory sliced mortadella sausage, and fresh asparagus lightly pan-fried in a mixture of olive oil and butter. All-in-all, it takes about 15 minutes to pull together but the presentation and taste are sure to impress.
As the veal is quite lean, the slight fattiness of the mortadella provides a perfect complement to the meat, especially with the addition of oozing, melted cheese. If you’re not a fan of veal (or you can’t find it), chicken, pork or turkey cutlets would work well in this dish. At my butcher they had thinly-sliced veal called “scallopine,” but if all you can find are regular breasts/cutlets you can simply place each between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them thin with a mallet or heavy rolling pin.
I love the addition of the springtime asparagus with its pleasing crunch and bright flavour. I also feel better about eating cheese-rolled-meat fried in butter if there is something green on my plate. Don’t you agree?
This would be nice served with some mashed or roasted potatoes and a fresh green salad. Despite the indulgent ingredients, the finished product actually feels rather light and can be part of a quick, tasty weeknight meal. Although the dish is comprised of two kinds of meat rolled up with cheese, since the meats are both thin you actually aren’t eating a ton of meat (unless you eat the entire recipe to yourself – then all bets are off).
On a technical note, the photographs might look slightly different today. Firstly, I got a new computer (yay!), and it has a different (newer!) version of Photoshop on it, so I’m still finding my way through the new layout. Secondly, I decided to switch things up and take photographs from a slightly different angle in my photo studio (a.k.a. my living room in front of my north-facing window, on my white Ikea coffee table to be precise). I don’t know how I feel about it yet. Some shots worked better than others. I felt like I was falling into a photography rut, so I thought I’d try something new.
Finally, have a wonderful Easter with your family! If (like me) you get a long weekend, get out an enjoy it. I’m trying to work up the energy to do my spring garden clean up, but I feel like my weekend might be better spent baking cookies and eating handfuls of Mini Eggs… I’ll let you know what I choose. 😉
- 12 asparagus spears
- 6 slices veal (scallopine, or pounded thin)
- 6 thin slices mortadella
- 6 slices provolone cheese
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ a lemon
- Cut or snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears. Steam the asparagus lightly, just until it begins to turn bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Lay out veal pieces and season lightly with salt and pepper. On top of each, place a slice of mortadella, followed by a slice of provolone. Make sure the mortadella and the cheese are smaller than the veal (trim if necessary). Place two asparagus spears, each facing in opposite directions, across the shortest width of each veal slice. Roll up tightly and tie with kitchen string.
- In a small dish, combine flour, salt and pepper. Lightly coat each veal roll-up evenly in the flour and tap to remove excess.
- In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat, then add olive oil. Fry rolls for about 10 minutes, turning every 2-3 minutes so all sides brown evenly, until the veal is no longer pink in the middle and the cheese is melted. Squeeze the lemon juice overtop and shake to combine. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from the beautiful The Food of Italy: A Journey for Food Lovers. The book’s version uses a cheese called Bel Paese (which I was unable to locate) rather than provolone, and calls for making a sauce with Marsala wine and the pan juices at the end. I am in love with this book – so many recipes remind me of what we ate in Italy last year!