What a ridiculously impressive meal! If you’ve never tried veal saltimbocca, prepare yourself.
Saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth.” It’s a way of saying that the dish is flavor packed. And trust us, this saltimbocca recipe will leave heads turning.
What is saltimbocca? Thinly cut or pounded veal cutlets are lovingly wrapped with a slice of prosciutto and fresh sage, then pan seared until just cooked through. Using cutlets means a quick cook time (which we always like; leaves more time for drinking wine!). And then there’s the saltimbocca sauce. Oh my god, the sauce! Have some crusty bread on standby to sop up every last drop.
You can roll them or lay the saltimbocca flat — we have a strong preference, and we’ll explain why below. Either way, this easy veal cutlet recipe is luxurious to eat and loved by all. Check out more of our easy 30-minute meal ideas, including veal marsala and this stuffed chicken marsala next!
- Veal cutlets: Choose cutlets that are about ¼” thick. If needed, place a cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet to thinly pound out.
- All-purpose flour: Used to dredge the veal cutlets.
- Kosher salt: To lightly season the veal and the pan sauce. Remember, prosciutto is already quite salty!
- Freshly cracked black pepper: To season the dish.
- Prosciutto: We love Prosciutto di Parma, but there are many different types of prosciutto available, from Italian to domestic.
- Fresh sage leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Unsalted butter, chilled
- Marsala cooking wine — this forms the base of the flavorful marsala pan sauce! (It also is the most beautiful wine to cook with mushrooms!)
- Fresh parsley
- Lemon wedges
Substitutions: Don’t have marsala wine? Substitute with chicken stock and a generous splash of white wine.
How To Make Classic Veal Saltimbocca
You’d think, given the Italian name (Saltimbocca alla Romana), that the dish was first created in Rome. According to some, however, it comes from Brescia, ~300 miles north of the capital.
Here’s how to make it:
- Dredge the veal: Place veal cutlets in a large Ziplock bag (or bowl), then add flour, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Seal, then shake (or stir) to thoroughly coat. Shake off excess flour, then transfer to a clean work surface.
- Wrap or secure prosciutto and sage onto cutlets: Place one piece of prosciutto on top of a veal cutlet. Add two sage leaves, then secure each leaf to the veal with 1 toothpick. Carefully turn the cutlet over, then place a second piece of prosciutto on the back. Secure with a third toothpick. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
Why not just wrap the veal cutlets with prosciutto?
You absolutely can! This is our selfish attempt to get as much crispy prosciutto on the cutlets as possible. We like placing one piece on each side of the veal, rather than wrapping one slice of prosciutto around, as that never seems to cover the whole cutlet.
How To Cook Veal Cutlets
This is one of our favorite Italian veal dishes, and thankfully, it’s easy to cook!
- Pan sear the cutlets. Once the veal cutlets are wrapped and assembled, heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add two veal cutlets, sage side down. Cook 2 minutes, then carefully flip. Cook 1 minute more, until prosciutto is crispy and veal has reached an internal temperature of 145F.
- Rest, then make the sauce. Transfer to a large plate, tent loosely with aluminum foil, then repeat with remaining veal cutlets. Pro tip: the meat will continue to cook as it rests, so it’s okay to remove it from the pan before it reaches desired temperature.
- Make the saltimbocca pan sauce: Add marsala cooking wine to the pan, then scrape up any brown bits with a spatula. Reduce for 1 minute, then turn the heat to low. Add chilled butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan as it melts into the sauce.
How To Serve
We love to enjoy this with creamy polenta, pasta, roasted vegetables, or a simple salad.
Yes, you can make veal saltimbocca ahead of time. Cook the veal and sauce according to the recipe, but do not add the butter. Let the veal cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to serve, reheat the veal and sauce over medium heat until heated through, swirling in the butter before serving.
Allow leftovers to cool completely, then store in a refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply reheat the veal and sauce over medium heat until heated through.
Yes! Let the veal and sauce cool completely, then place in an freezer-safe airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in a refrigerator, then, reheat the veal and sauce over medium heat until heated through.
As part of my Date Night In series, I’m offering up a few wine suggestions to serve alongside. Saltimbocca is inherently salty. To work with that, we’re recommending wines that are acidic, fruity, or crisp. Avoid anything overly sweet, which will actually bring out the saltiness of the recipe.
Red wine: a fruit forward Pinot Noir (Oregon or Burgundy will have more pronounced acidity than those from California, so stick with the former) or a Rosso di Montalcino, which is the kid sibling to Brunello di Montalcino. Veal is expensive and delicate — do not overwhelm it with a big, in your face red or you’ll completely mask the flavor of the veal.
Rosé: For the sake of matching the food to the region where the grapes come from, we’ll suggest looking for dry, crisp rosés from Italy, particularly Tuscany.
White wine: Vernaccia (a Tuscan wine with good acidity and crisp notes) would be lovely. The first time we made this at home we enjoyed it with a Vinho Branco from Portugal, and I have to say it was stellar.
Veal is not an every day ingredient, but it’s a special meat that deserves a delicate hand. If this is your first time cooking veal, we hope this opens your eyes — and stomachs — to the wonderful world of veal.
If you make our Veal Saltimbocca recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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For more date night worthy dinner ideas, check out the following:
- Mozzarella caprese gazpacho
- Skillet chicken with white beans and kale
- Salmon piccata
- Shredded brussel sprouts Caesar salad
- Roast rack of lamb
Classic Veal Saltimbocca with Marsala Pan Sauce
For the veal cutlets
- 4 veal cutlets about 1 lb
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 8 pieces prosciutto
- 8 large sage leaves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
For the marsala pan sauce
- 6 Tbsp butter divided, chilled
- ⅓ cup marsala cooking wine
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley for serving
- lemon wedges for serving
- Dredge the cutlets: Place veal cutlets in a large Ziplock bag (or bowl), then add ½ cup flour, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Seal, then shake to thoroughly coat.
- Assemble the cutlets: Place one piece of prosciutto on top of a veal cutlet. Add two sage leaves, then secure each to the veal with 2 toothpicks. Carefully turn the veal over, then place a second piece of prosciutto on the back. Secure with a third toothpick. Set aside and repeat with remaining cutlets.
- To cook: Heat olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add two veal cutlets, sage side down. Cook 2 minutes, then carefully flip. Cook 1 minute more, until prosciutto is crispy and veal has reached an internal temperature of 145F. (It's okay to remove a few degrees lower, as the meat will continue to cook and rise in temperature as it rests.) Transfer to a plate, then repeat with remaining veal cutlets.
- Make the pan sauce: Add ½ cup marsala wine to the pan, then use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Allow this to reduce for 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat to low, then add remaining 4 Tbsp chilled butter, 1 Tbsp at a time, swirling the pan as it melts into the sauce.
- To serve: Either return cutlets to the pan or transfer cutlets to individual plates and spoon sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
- Can substitute veal cutlets with chicken, pork, or turkey cutlets.
- Make-ahead: Cook the veal and sauce according to the recipe, but do not add the butter. Let the veal cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to serve, reheat the veal and sauce over medium heat until heated through, swirling in the butter before serving.
- Leftovers: Allow leftovers to cool completely, then store in a refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply reheat the veal and sauce over medium heat until heated through.
- To freeze: Let the veal and sauce cool completely, then place in an freezer-safe airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in a refrigerator, then, reheat the veal and sauce over medium heat until heated through.