Friday, February 19, 2010

Local & Delicious--Veal Saltimbocca & Spaghetti & Meatballs with Hawaiian Red Veal

Recently the Hawaii Cattle Producers Cooperative Association (HCPCA) was at the farmer's market with some of their Hawaiian Red Veal so I bought a package of ground veal and a package of scaloppine slices (very thin slices of veal cut from the leg), to try. Veal, the meat from young calves, gets a bad rap sometimes mainly due to animal cruelty concerns based on the practices around how it is raised and produced. The typical commercial method of veal production is to take a calf from its mother and raise it to about 18-20 weeks old in a crate or small pen where its movements are very limited. The animal is fed a milk replacement, which, along with the lack of exercise, fattens the calf and produces a tender, white meat often referred to as "milk-fed veal."

Hawaiian Red Veal is produced from calves that are 5-6 moths old, have been weaned off milk and are eating pasture grass and allowed to roam. The meat takes on a pinkish-red color from the combination of grass and the mother's milk, giving it the name "red veal. Because the calves have 
 with no 
handling, the 
tender and flavorful. Because it is a local product, it is also very fresh. The HCPCA is in the early stages of producing this seasonal product, but hopefully it will become even more widespread as it benefits both the local consumers--who get a fresh, local product that is free of hormones and antibiotics and raised in a more humane way, as well as the producers who can make a better profit selling the meat here on the islands rather than shipping their calves to mainland feed lots. Less food miles is less of a carbon footprint and better for the environment too.

Several of my favorite restaurants have been serving the veal when it is available, so I was excited to cook with it myself--it's nice to cook with local proteins other than fish. ;-) With the ground veal I decided to make an Italian Meatball recipe adapted from the veal producer's flier and serve it with some simple, flavorful marinara sauce over whole wheat pasta for a healthy dinner. With my scaloppine slices, I chose to make my favorite veal dish, saltimbocca--a simple, delicious Italian dish made with sage and prosciutto. Tyler Florence's Saltimbocca Romano has been my go-to recipe (see it here and here), but I decided to give the Veal and Lemon Saltimbocca recipe by Giada De Laurentiis a go, just to change it up a bit. In addition to the lemon, Giada adds a tomato cream sauce to her dish which sounded rich and good.

Here are both dishes with my changes in red:

Hawaiian Red Veal Italian Meatballs
Adapted from Hawaii Ranchers Beef
Makes about 30 1 & 1/2-inch Meatballs)

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (used whole wheat bread)
1/3 cup milk (used plain, unsweetened rice milk)
1 lb Hawaiian Red Veal
2 Tbsp minced Italian parsley
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omitted)

Place the bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and soak for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together well, kneading the mixture until it is smooth.

Pinch off a piece and cook it in a frying pan or in the microwave to test for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.

With your hands, form meatballs, about 1 to 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on a plate. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a little olive oil and when it is hot, add the meatballs. Brown the meatballs, turning them in the pan. Cook the meatballs until they are well done. Remove from the pan. Serve them as appetizers or with a marinara sauce over pasta. (I cooked the meatballs on a parchment paper lined, rimmed baking sheet at 400 degrees F. for about 17 minutes, then served them over whole wheat fettuccine noodles with a tomato sauce).

Simple Marinara Sauce
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup good red wine
3 tsp anchovy paste
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (
28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt to taste
Parmesan cheese to garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, (about 5 to 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the wine and cook on high heat until most of the liquid evaporates, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the anchovy paste, tomato paste, tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, pepper and salt, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

To serve, add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti with grated Parmesan.

Notes/Results: Excellent! The meatballs are very moist, tender and have good flavor. I baked my meatballs instead of frying--less hassle and mess and healthier too. I threw together a simple marinara sauce, made rich and flavorful with some red wine and anchovy paste and it was great with the meatballs. Since I have cut the bulk of the dairy out of my diet, I used rice milk to soak the breadcrumbs for the meatballs and left the Parmesan cheese out of the meatballs themselves, but I did add a little finely grated cheese to garnish the dish. A little indulgence never hurts! ;-) I would make this again. The leftover meatballs and sauce are going to top a pizza with some added veggies for tomorrow's dinner.

Veal and Lemon Saltimbocca

Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis
(Makes 4 Servings)

You can find this recipe at the Food Network site here.

4 veal chops, pounded 1/2 to 1/4-inch thick
4 thin lemon slices
4 sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped
4 large slices prosciutto
3 tablespoons olive oil (Used 1 1/2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5 can) whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 cup cream (used soy creamer)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the veal chops on a work surface and season with salt and pepper. Place a slice of lemon on top of each chop. Top with 1 leaf of sage. Lay a large piece of prosciutto on each chop and press to seal.

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the veal chops in the hot oil, lemon side down. Saute until the prosciutto starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Turn the veal over and saute for another 2 minutes. Remove to a platter and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken broth and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, cream, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined and hot. Pour the sauce over the veal and top with the remaining 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage. Serve immediately.

Notes/Results: Delicious! A different saltimbocca than I am used to, and the simpler Tyler recipe remains my favorite, but this one was really good with the added lemon and the tomato cream sauce and was still very quick and easy to make. The prosciutto makes a little packet with the thin lemon slices and sage tucked inside, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it stayed together during the cooking and flipping over. Instead of cream (again the dairy), I used soy creamer, which has less saturated fat and calories than cream and worked fine in the sauce. My sage leaves were not very big, and my veal pieces long and narrow, so I used a couple of the leaves and two slices of lemon on each piece of veal. I served the veal with some of the leftover whole wheat pasta, reheated with some olive oil, a bit of broth, garlic and some dried parsley, basil and oregano, Although I would be inclined to make Tyler's recipe more often, this recipe tasted great and I would make it again.

A fun local product to try in a couple of classic Italian dishes.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. wonderful to know that we have local veal :) everything looks so yummy!

  2. My Whole Foods actually carries local veal as well but it is usually a whopping $21/pound! Way too expensive for my budget. Which is too bad because I really love veal.

    These both look amazing... should I ever find it at a cheaper price, I am totally trying them!

  3. This Hawaiian red veal sounds intriguing. You have the best foodie resources there!
    Delicious dinners, I rarely think about veal - so nice of you to showcase its versatility and deliciousness. Very inspiring!

  4. In the UK we get rose veal - so the same sort of high-welfare production - and it is delicious! I've never done saltimbocca with a tomato sauce, but that looks tasty. I'm also intrigued by your marinara sauce with the anchovies in - yum!

  5. Both dishes look gobsmackingly delicious!

  6. Deb, they all look delicious. What a great Simple Marinara Sauce. I am definitely keeping that handy. Many thanks...

  7. We are unable to buy veal in my community, but I have finally found a mail order source. We love veal and it's always nice to come across new recipes for its use. Both of today's recipes sound wonderful. Thanks!

  8. Local meats are so fun to find! The Hawaiian Red Veal sounds excellent and I love all these dishes you made!

  9. Hi Debi, just popped in from Reeni's. I must say, the thought of Hawaiian fresh veal sounds intriguing. Your recipes are amazing. I love the way you did a bit of this and that to call it your own. I'm inclined to think I could possibly attempt your methods with scaloppines of pork should the urge get the best of me. Thank you so much for sharing and, thank you for introducing me to the print friendly link. It looks like something I may like to add to my blog. Louise

  10. Absolutely delicious...I am so hungry that I think I could eat a plate of each! Great post.

  11. I love veal - but I don't often think of cooking with it. These both look wonderful! And your marinara is anything but simple - flavor wise. I would never think to use lemon with tomato sauce but it sounds like it was a hit.

  12. This veal sounds so special! It's always make me feel better to know where my food is coming from and the practices behind each farm. Kudos Deb for writing about this special local ingredient!


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