veal scaloppineThis is a dish from the very first Giada book I ever bought, Giada’s Family Dinners. I’ve made it many times, it’s fast and feels fancy even though it’s incredibly simple to make. For some reason I haven’t made it for ages, so last night we had this for dinner.

The problem was, saffron is kind of a key ingredient. When I dug through my spices I found that I was actually out of saffron. This never happens, and by the time I realized it the pasta was cooking and the veal was resting. So major improvisation here: I used a tablespoon of pink peppercorns (which I’ve used in another great cream sauce for steaks) and a teaspoon of thyme instead of the saffron. Everything else was exactly the same as the recipe…well, I don’t put mushrooms in since neither of us are fans.  The dish was still delicious, but much more peppery than the original. Now I’ll have to think hard about which version to make next time.

I served it with some buttery spaghetti with chives and pepper. Delicious, and exactly the kind of protein I need to keep pumping into Adam while he’s getting over the worst bug he’s had since I’ve known him.

I’m posting the original recipe.

Veal Scaloppine with Saffron Cream Sauce

The recipe says this makes 4 to 6 servings, but I would say more like 3 servings if you leave out the mushrooms, which I do.

1 lb. veal scaloppine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, or more as needed
3 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads (or all the peppercorns and thyme I used)
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 lemon wedges (I always forget this part)

1. Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy frying pan over high heat. Working in batches, add the veal and saute until just cooked through and golden, about 45 seconds per side.

cooking the veal

Transfer the veal to a platter and tent with foil to keep it warm. Repeat with the remaining veal, adding more butter and oil to the pan as necessary.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in the same pan, over high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. ***If you leave out the mushrooms and only cook the shallots at this point, it’s 2-3 minutes. 

Add the broth, wine, and saffron (or other herbs), and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 5 minutes.

simmering sauce

Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil until the sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.

with cream

Add the frozen peas and return the sauce to a simmer (lower the heat). Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the veal and serve with lemon wedges.

For the pasta

When you start prepping the veal, bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions (I made a little less than half a box. Drain the pasta. Add 2 tablespoons butter, salt, and pepper. Return the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Chop 2-3 tablespoons of chives (I like a lot of chives) and add to the pot.