Vitello Tonnato

It’s that time of year again – a time of crisp air and shorter days, of warm blankets and roaring fires, of hearty meals that nourish both body and soul. As the winter chill sets in, there is nothing quite like gathering around the table with loved ones, sharing stories and laughter over dishes that are as comforting as they are delicious.

One of my favorite places to escape the winter chill is the heart of Northern Italy, specifically the region of Piemonte. Set at the foot of the snow-capped Alps, this area is celebrated for its world-class wines, white truffles, and robust, hearty cuisine that is perfect for winter feasting.

Imagine, if you will, the bustling streets of Turin, Piemonte’s capital. Here, amidst the backdrop of elegant baroque architecture and under the shadows of the towering Alps, you’ll find charming osterias bursting with locals seeking refuge from the winter chill. These are the places where the magic happens, where simple, honest ingredients are transformed into dishes that are deeply satisfying and full of flavor.

It was on one such winter’s evening, nestled in a cozy corner of a rustic osteria, that I experienced the delightful dish known as “Vitello Tonnato”. This traditional Italian dish, which hails from the culinary-rich region of Piemonte, is a beautiful marriage of land and sea, featuring thinly sliced veal blanketed in a creamy, tangy tuna sauce. While it may seem an unusual combination, the delicate veal pairs exquisitely with the rich, briny tuna sauce, creating a dish that is both comforting and luxurious.

Now, I’m thrilled to share this delectable recipe with you. The Vitello Tonnato is not just a mere starter; it’s a way to bring the warmth of a Piemonte osteria to your winter dining table.


Vitello Tonnato

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 400 kcal


For the Veal

  • 800 g veal roast
  • 1 onion halved
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt

For the Tuna Sauce

  • 200 g canned tuna in oil, drained
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp capers drained
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper


  • In a large pot, combine the veal, onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaf. Cover with water, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 1.5 hours, or until the veal is tender.
  • While the veal is cooking, prepare the tuna sauce. In a blender or food processor, combine the tuna, anchovies, egg yolks, capers, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the sauce is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Once the veal is cooked, let it cool in the cooking liquid. Once cool, slice it very thinly.
  • Arrange the veal slices on a platter, then cover with the tuna sauce. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to let the flavors meld together.
  • Before serving, let the Vitello Tonnato come to room temperature. This dish is best served with a crusty Italian bread and a glass of Piemonte's famous Barolo wine.
Keyword light, starter, tuna, veal

So, embrace the season and transport yourself to the heart of Piemonte with this classic Vitello Tonnato. I guarantee it will bring warmth and satisfaction to your winter table. Buon appetito!

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