Arrosto di Vitello Lardellato con Pancetta e Cetriolini sott’Aceto

Roast Veal Studded with Pancetta and Pickled Cucumbers

A roast of veal is here prepared for cooking by larding it with pancetta and cucumber pickles and then marinating it in lemon juice. The pancetta not only radiates flavor but bastes the veal internally as it cooks and keeps it moist. The pickles and the lemon juice contribute vivacity and aromatic qualities to the taste. The meat is first browned in butter over a burner, then roasted in the oven with cream, a procedure that helps the veal stay juicy and tender. Cross sections of pickle and pancetta will show up in the slices; the attractive appearance together with the lively delicacy of flavor make this a most distinctive roast.

Ingredients

  • A -pound boneless veal roast, such as top round, rump, sirloin, or shoulder
  • A larding needle
  • 3 ounces pancetta, prosciutto, or salt pork, cut into 2½- to 3-inch-long strips from a ¼-inch-thick slice
  • 8 to 10 cornichons or other small cucumbers pickled in vinegar, cut in half lengthwise
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • cup heavy cream

Method

  1. Place one strip of pancetta at a time on a larding needle and insert it into the roast, pushing the needle in along the same direction as the grain of the meat. Distribute the pancetta strips as broadly as possible within the roast so they don’t all collect in one spot.
  2. Repeat the larding procedure with the cucumber pickles.
  3. Place the larded meat on a platter and pour over it the lemon juice, moistening it well on all sides. Let it marinate in the juice for 30 minutes at room temperature, turning it and basting it from time to time.
  4. Turn on the oven to 350°.
  5. Choose a casserole with a tight-fitting lid suitable for cooking both over a burner and in the oven. Put it on the burner, put in the butter and oil, and turn on the heat to high.
  6. Pat the meat thoroughly dry with paper towels and, when the fat is hot enough so that the butter’s foam begins to subside, put the meat in the pot. Brown it thoroughly on all sides, then add salt and a few grindings of pepper.
  7. Add the cream and, as soon as it comes to a boil, cover the pot and put it in the oven. Cook for 1½ to 2 hours, turning the roast from time to time. The meat is done the moment it feels tender when pierced with a fork.
  8. Allow the roast to rest for a few minutes, then slice it and serve it with its cooking juices. If, by chance, the juices are too watery, after removing the roast from the pot place the pot over a burner turned on to high and reduce the juices quickly, stirring constantly and loosening any residues stuck to the bottom of the pot.

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