madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking


saltimbocca di maiale al Vinsanto

saltimbocca revisited with Umbrian ingredients

PORK SALTIMBOCCA WITH VINSANTO.  The Italian word saltimbocca means “to jump in the mouth”. This is because the meat is cooked so quickly that it will be on  your plate after only a couple of pirouettes in the pan. To cook it with the right speed you will need very thin meat. The result is melt-in-the-mouth parcels that make what  must be the world’s easiest dinner.

There’s endless variations of this recipe. To keep to the deservedly famous original however, please do not overdo. Keep to a minimum of oil and butter.

Use no more than one  sage leaf per parcel, that’s more than enough flavor. You can substitute pork with veal but you’ll never get chicken thin enough. You can substitute Vinsanto with Marsala or white wine but not with lemon juice.

You can substitute guanciale with pancetta, but the guanciale is sublime. There’s no garlic and no tomato (for once). And please, please, please, don’t melt cheese over it!


  • 500 gr / 1 pound pork scaloppine, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced guanciale
  • flour for dusting
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter and 1 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Vinsanto

Top each slice of meat with 1 slice of guanciale and 1 sage leaf. Fold in two, keeping the guanciale and sage inside, and secure with a small cocktail stick. Dust each parcel lightly with flour (can be also done with gluten-free flour or rice flour ).

Put a large cast iron  skillet over high heat until hot. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in it until foaming. Add oil and  pork parcels in single layer, turning once or twice until golden about 1 min per side. Season with salt and black pepper.

Add wine to pan and deglaze over high heat until liquid is reduced by 1/3, scraping up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Be careful as it might flambe’. Transfer pork to platter, pour the sauce over it, and serve with potatoes cooked in a salt crust and a green salad.

Serves 4-5.


Eufrasia’s pork rolls


 herby, aromatic, melt-in-the-mouth morsels

INVOLTINI. This is one of my favorite recipes which I have adapted from the traditional “braciole” from Messina. My mum used to make them for  special family occasions as my brother and I loved them.

She often made several batches and freezed them in portions so she had them ready when we returned from our travels.

The traditional recipe was made with beef and Southern cheeses like caciocavallo or provolone. Here I use our wonderful Umbrian pork, and local  “guanciale“, cured pork cheek. If you cannot find guanciale, use pancetta or unsmoked bacon. You can substitute  Parmesan with aged provolone as long as it is not too salty.


  • 450 gr (1 lb) pork loin,  sliced paper-thin, beef carpaccio is a good alternative
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 150 gr (1/3 lb) thinly sliced guanciale
  • bay leaves

Preheat oven at 425 F (220 C). Pork should be sliced as thin as possible without breaking slices apart. Distribute slices over a tabletop and place a slice of guanciale over each slice of meat.
Add olive oil to the seasoned bread crumbs until they look moist but not greasy.
Distribute the bread mixture over the meat and firmly roll up each slice.

make sure to have very thin slices of meat and good breadcrumbs

preparation of pork rolls

Skewer 3-4 rolls on two parallel cocktail skewers alternating meat rolls and bay leaves, so that rolls are sandwiched between bay leaves. Transfer rolls into an oiled non-stick oven proof roasting tin
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 min, turning half way trough. Switch off, cover rolls with foil and keep in the warm oven until serving.

Serves 6


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