Polpette di Carne de Vitello

Veal Roulade

Source: Libro de arte coquinaria by Maestro Martino de Como, 15th century

Original Recipe:

Per fare polpette di carne de vitello o de altra bona carne.

In prima togli de la carne magra de la cossa et tagliala in fette longhe et sottili et battile bene sopra un tagliero o tavola con la costa del coltello, et togli sale et finocchio pesto et ponilo sopra la ditta fetta di carne. Dapoi togli de petrosimolo, maiorana et de bon lardo et batti queste cose inseme con un poche de bone spetie, et distendile bene queste cose in la dicta fetta. Dapoi involtela inseme et polla nel speto accocere. Ma non la lassare troppo seccar al focho.

Translation: (from The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book)

To make a roll of veal or other good meat

First, take some lean meat from the haunch and cut it into long slices and beat it on a cutting board or table using the knife handle, and take some salt and ground fennel seeds and spread over the cutlets. Then take some parsley, marjoram, and good lard, and chop together with some good spices and spread this mixture over the cutlets. Roll them and cook them on a spit, but do not let them get too dry over the flame.

My Interpretation:

Flatten steak and season with salt & ground fennel. Combine butter, oil, herbs & remaining spices until soft. Spread butter mixture on flank steak. Roll flank steak & tie off with butcher's twine. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.


Beef can be used instead of veal for this dish as "other good meat".

I choose to substitute butter for lard in this dish, because of the mouth feel left by the lard shortly after eating this dish.

Works Referenced:

Libro de arte coquinaria, Maestro Martino de Como, Digital version: Valeria Romanelli, 7/2004. http://www.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/martino2.htm

The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book, Translated by Luigi Ballerini, Jeremy Parzen, Stefania Barzini, University of California Press, 2005

- A translation of the work of Maestro Martino of Como, 15th century