Animelle al Prosciutto

Sweetbreads with Ham

This robust offal dish is typical of the provincial areas around Rome. It is traditionally served with fresh peas or artichokes with melted butter and plenty of parsley, which adds a welcome touch of colour.


  • 570 g ( lb) lambs’ sweetbreads
  • salt
  • 75 g ( oz) prosciutto crudo, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 15 g (¼ oz) butter
  • 5 tablespoons good broth
  • 30 g (1 oz) butter
  • ½ tablespoon plain flour
  • freshly ground black pepper


Carefully peel the membrane from the sweetbreads, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 3 hours. This will ensure they remain perfectly white. Drain and toss into boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain again and rinse under cold water, then pat dry and slice into neat rounds.

Fry the prosciutto and onion in the olive oil or butter in a saucepan for 5 or 6 minutes. Add the sweetbreads and reduce the heat to as low as possible. Fry them very carefully, turning them once, for a total of 10–12 minutes. Add about three-quarters of the broth as they cook.

Remove the sweetbreads and arrange them on a warm dish. Mash the 30 g (1 oz) butter and the flour together and stir into the pan juices, with the remaining stock. Season with pepper. Stir together and cook to a smooth sauce. Pour the sauce over the sweetbreads and serve at once, with a green vegetable to garnish.