Saltimbocca Alla Romana: A Tasty Roman Trio for Summer

Saltimbocca is a specialty of Roman cuisine, an ancient traditional recipe that brings out the best in the few ingredients that are required.

Saltimbocca Alla Romana – A Tasty Roman Trio for Summer |

The combination of tender veal, aromatic sage and mild ham has become a beloved classic and demonstrates that not much effort is needed to create a fine and delicate meal.

The name Saltimbocca can be translated as “jump into the mouth,” which implies that the dish is so tasty that your tongue begs for immediate indulgence.

Saltimbocca Alla Romana – A Tasty Roman Meat Dish |

The authentic recipe is prepared with boneless veal cutlets, prosciutto and fresh sage leaves, flavored with butter and white wine. You can either braise the meat at low heat or roast it and deglaze later with the wine.

Sage is full of essential oils and is therefore an aromatic herb. By heating it up with the butter and ham, you will quickly smell its intense and fresh aroma.

The ham is another important ingredient for the dish. Use air-dried varieties like prosciutto or Parma ham. Spanish Serrano will also work nicely.

The choice of meat for the traditional Saltimbocca alla Romana is veal. But in case you aren’t a veal lover, a suitable substitute would be chicken breast or white fish fillets,both of which harmonize well with the other flavors.

Saltimbocca Alla Romana Recipe |

There are different methods of incorporating the ingredients. You can either use a toothpick to pin the prosciutto and sage leaves to the meat as it is described here, fill and fold the cutlets once, or completely roll them up to form something similar to a roulade.

Tip: For BBQ season, why not roast the Saltimbocca on your grill? Prepare a butter-wine reduction in advance or simply serve with any other kind of mild sauce you like.

Saltimbocca Alla Romana – A Tasty Roman Trio for Summer |
Saltimbocca Alla Romana
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Saltimbocca Alla Romana – A Tasty Roman Trio for Summer |
Saltimbocca Alla Romana
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Rate this recipe!
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  • 8 thin veal cutlets *
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • 8 fresh medium-size sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 toothpicks
  1. Pound the cutlets until flat (approx. ¼ inch).
  2. Place a slice of prosciutto and a sage leave on every slice of meat and pin with a toothpick.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan and sear the meat at high heat on each side until golden.
  4. Deglaze with a dash of wine and leave to simmer at lower heat until evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Take out the cutlets and keep them warm.
  6. Mix any remaining fond or juices from the pan with some more wine and butter for a sauce and serve aside.
Recipe Notes

* Subsitutions: chicken breast fillets or white fish fillets.

Recipe for Saltimbocca Alla Romana |


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About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

9 thoughts on “Saltimbocca Alla Romana: A Tasty Roman Trio for Summer”

  1. I’ve heard of Saltimbocca over the years, but never knew exactly what it was. I’ve never eaten much veal, since it’s expensive, and now that I know what it is, I would probably prefer to substitute chicken or fish, but the Prosciutto, sage and butter sound like a wonderful flavor combination. I like the grill suggestion, that’s not something I would have thought of doing with this recipe.

  2. Interesting simple dish. Veal, the baby calf. We’re not going to marinade this one before hand. I guess there is a layer of ham on this in the photo. Yes I see that in the article but not in the recipe. I would imagine that is thinly sliced and just placed over top with the rest.

    • If you’re looking for the ham in the recipe, it’s the Prosciutto. It is an air-dried type of ham, a nice choice for this kind of meal. If you like, you can replace it with other types, I suggested Serrano or Parma in the article too. It is thinly sliced and sticked to the meat with sage.
      If you’re not into veal, use chicken or white fish as a substitution. It tastes as great as the usual combination. I often replace the veal too, but it is part of the original Roman recipe.

  3. I have actually heard of this before as a friend suggested it to me. I typically don’t prefer ham as it tends to verge on too salty for me, although I loved it as a child. It looks like an elegant meal to try to make, though I’m sure I cannot replicate the picture whatsoever. Thank you for the idea, however! I probably would attempt this around Christmas as that is usually when my family has loads of pork. 🙂

  4. I think you are right on this one that sometimes you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make an elegant dish. The dish in the photo looks divine, something I would see on a cooking show.

  5. I’m always happy to see a recipe which includes veal – I’m a real fan of the meat but hardly ever see it for sale here in the UK. I really like the idea of these two fairly unusual meats served together and it’s definitely one to try should I ever come across veal in the store.

  6. I just got home from vacation, and in that trip I had my first taste of veal! I’m practically ignorant of this type of meat, but when I had a taste of it I kind of like it. So, hit the search button and found this recipe. Although I’m yet to find out if this meat is available in my local supermarket, or if I even could afford it, I love the thought that this recipe is simple to make. Anything that is easy to prepare just catches my attention as I’m not pretty savvy in the kitchen, sadly. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me from browsing through recipes and imagine that I can make them one day. Anyhow, the pictures just makes me hungry now and oh, the amount of rice I can eat with this dish. Love.

    • I’m sure you’ll be successful if you try this one! But if you can’t find veal (often difficult for me, too) you could it with other types of meat. Poultry, for example, goes great with this combination. Enjoy this mediterranean nuance 🙂

  7. Well my ears perked up a little bit when I heard Roman, and thought I might get a little nostalgia here. I was in Italy about five years ago, and went to Rome, but I do not remember having anything that resembles this. That said, though, there were certainly some similar dishes, and pretty much every night was a just a platter of different meats, which were delicious. It may not be the exact nostalgia I was thinking, but I bet I can muster some. Thanks for sharing.

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