Vitello tonnato



Not everyone knows that vitello tonnato (cold veal with tuna sauce), or vitel tonné in Piedmont dialect, is the pride and joy of this region's cuisine, indeed there are two different versions: old style and the one familiar to us all. In the 80s this recipe was all the rage at parties, on important occasions, the earliest trendy drinks gatherings at home and even on cruise ships! Vitello tonnato is the shrimp cocktail of non-seafood starters and both characterized the so-called Swinging Eighties!
What makes this recipe so special is the tenderness of the meat, which mustn't be overcooked, otherwise it becomes dark and stringy. Thanks to our tips, you'll make tender and succulent slices, doused in a delicious egg and tuna sauce. Ladies and gentlemen, be sure to have everything you need for this recipe, because today we'll prepare a truly timeless dish: vitello tonnato!


Veal 1 lb (800 g) - (eye of round or round steak)
Celery 1 stalk
Carrots 1
Yellow onions 1
Garlic 1 clove
White wine 1 cup (250 g)
Water 4 cups ( l)
Bay leaves 1 leaf
Cloves 3
Extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp
Ground black pepper ½ tsp
Fine salt 2 pinches
For the sauce
Eggs 2
Tuna in oil 3 oz (100 g) - drained
Anchovies in oil 3 fillets
Salted capers 2 tsp (5 g)
Caper berries to taste - for decoration

How to prepare Vitello tonnato

To vitello tonnato (prepare cold veal with tuna sauce), start by cleaning the vegetables you'll need to cook the meat. Wash them, peel and tip the carrot, then cut it into pieces 1. Tip the celery and cut it into pieces too 2. Peel the onion and cut it in half 3. Place the ingredients in a bowl and add the whole peeled garlic.

Now clean the meat: remove any cartilage and fat filaments 4. Place the eye of round, chopped vegetables 5, the laurel leaf, 2-3 cloves and the black peppercorns 6 in a large pan.

Add the white wine 7 and the water, which should cover all the ingredients 8. Add two pinches of salt 9

and then the oil 10. Switch on the stove and bring to the boil, then remove the foam as soon as it forms on the surface 11. Put the lid on and lower the flame slightly before leaving to cook for around 40-45 minutes; remember that every lb of meat requires a cooking time of around 30 minutes. The important thing is that the temperature in the middle of the meat cut never exceeds 150°F (65°C): use a cooking thermometer to check this 12.

Once you have cooked the meat cut 13, drain it and leave it to cool thoroughly 14. Then remove the laurel, pepper and cloves 15.

Take 1/3 of the resulting broth, simmer and reduce it on a high flame for around ten minutes. The leftover meat broth will be useful for other preparations, like risottos 16; once cooked, drain the vegetables in a container 17. Now prepare the boiled eggs. Place the eggs in a saucepan with abundant cold water. Switch on the stove and as soon as the water comes to the boil, set the timer to 9 minutes 18.

When boiled, drain the eggs and rinse them in cold water. Peel them once cooled and cut them into 4 pieces 19. Add the egg slices to the bowl with the vegetables 20. Add the drained tuna too 21,

along with the anchovies in oil and the desalted capers (to desalt them, place them under fresh running water) 22; lastly, add a little broth 23. Use an immersion blender (a classic mixer will also do) and add a little more broth if needed 24.

Blend into a smooth cream with whatever consistency you prefer 25. By now the meat should have cooled down. Slice it thinly with a smooth bladed knife 26. Arrange the slices on a serving dish and pour the cream over them. Lastly, decorate with the caper fruits, some whole and some sliced: your vitello tonnato is ready 27.


Vitello tonnato (cold veal with tuna sauce) can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days at most, covered with plastic wrap. It is best to store the cream separately.
Freezing is not recommended.


Add or replace the vegetables and spices with whatever you prefer, even better if seasonal. If you aren't a fan of anchovies and/or capers, simply leave them out.
In some versions mayonnaise is used instead of boiled eggs: try using it by adding as much as you like!