Veal Marinated in Tuna Sauce

Vitello Tonnato

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main course

Appears in

How to Cook Italian

How to Cook Italian

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2005

  • About

This classic dish is found predominantly in northern Italy. It is essential to use premium canned tuna packed in olive oil and homemade mayonnaise. Because it is served at room temperature, this is an ideal dish for a buffet. The original and most prized version is with veal, but it also is sometimes prepared with pork or even chicken. To make it with pork, follow this recipe and substitute pork loin for the veal. To make it with chicken, substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts and decrease the cooking time to 10 to 15 minutes.


  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • Salt
  • 2 to 3 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • pounds top round of veal in one piece
  • ½ recipe homemade mayonnaise
  • 4 ounces premium canned tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, plus extra for serving
  • 3 anchovy fillets


  1. Fill a pot with about 3 quarts water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, peel the carrot and celery.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon salt, the celery, carrot, parsley, and veal to the boiling water. Lower the heat so that the water simmers and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let the meat cool in the water it cooked in.
  4. While the veal is cooking, make the mayonnaise.
  5. Open the can of tuna and drain the oil. Put the tuna, capers, and anchovies in a food processor and run until finely chopped. Add the tuna mixture to the mayonnaise and mix well.
  6. When the veal has cooled to at least lukewarm, remove it from the cooking liquid and cut into ¼-inch -thick slices. Choose a serving dish that will hold the veal slices in 2 layers. Spread a thin coating of the tuna sauce over the bottom of the serving dish, then cover with a layer of veal. Spread half of the remaining tuna sauce over the veal. Put the rest of the veal in the dish and spread the remaining tuna sauce on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.


For an attractive presentation, decorate the top with capers.