This simple veal roast is a timeless classic in Italy on Sunday lunch, a preparation that you’ll find on the table from Northern Italy to Southern Italy, alike.

Serves: 4-5 | Preparation time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 2 1/2 h

  • Veal Roast: 1 kg
  • Water: 500 ml
  • A stock cube to crumble
  • White wine: 80 ml
  • Black pepper: 8 to 10 grains
  • Cloves, 3
  • Sage, fresh: 2-3 leaves
  • Garlic: 1 clove
  • Onions: 1
  • Rosemary, fresh: 1 sprig
  • Sage, fresh: 1 sprig
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): 4-5 tbsp
  • Salt: to taste


Peel the garlic and the onion.

Place the veal in a large pot and pour the olive oil directly on top of it. Sprinkle some salt and the pepper grains and crumble the stock cube on top of the roast. Add the aromatic herbs – sage, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Gently add the water in the pot, making sure to pour it on the side and not directly on the roast, which should stay covered only in vegetables and spices. Make a cross on top of the onion and put 3 cloves in, place it in the pot.

Cover with a lid and cook over low heat.

Once the water starts boiling, turn the roast every 15-20 minutes, so that it cooks evenly and without burning. If you reckon it needs more water, add a bit – but be careful not to add too much.

Once the sauce starts to thicken, turn the roast every 5 minutes, always on very low heat. Prick the roast with a fork: if the prongs penetrate the meat easily, then the veal is cooked through.

Remove the roast from the pot and leave it to cool completely before cutting it. Cut the roast into slices.

Heat up the sauce left in the pot. Use a spoon to remove the oil and fat that float on the surface. Pour in the white wine and boil the gravy to make sure most of the alcohol evaporates.

Pour the gravy into a bowl, filtering it with a fine sieve; all the spices and herbs you cooked the roast with will be captured by the sieve and your gravy will now have a smooth texture.

Pour the gravy back into the pot where you cooked the roast and warm it up over low fire. Once the gravy starts simmering, follow one of three methods to thicken it:

  1. Mix together a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of butter, and add it gradually to the gravy. Stop adding flour and butter as soon as you reckon the gravy is thick enough.
  2. Mix together a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water, and add it gradually to the gravy. Stop adding the cornstarch mixture as soon as you reckon the gravy is thick enough.
  3. Boil the gravy over low fire until it thickens.

Once the gravy is ready, you can pour it directly over the roast or serve it aside in a bowl.

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