A quick tomato sauce, eggplant and smoked mozzarella round out this unique flavor profile.
You'll need a food mill to make the sauce. We found top round of veal at Wagshal's Market in Northwest Washington (202-363-0777).
Make Ahead: The sauce can be made, covered and refrigerated 2 days in advance.
- For the sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 24 ounces (from a 28-ounce can) peeled whole tomatoes, plus their juices
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 8 basil leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the veal and vegetables
- 1 1/2 pounds top round of veal
- 12 ounces eggplant
- 1 head (8-ounce) radicchio, cut in half and cored
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices smoked mozzarella (scamorza), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Handful of baby arugula, for garnish (optional)
For the sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, thyme and basil; mix well. Once the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, season with salt and pepper to taste, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice (as needed). Use a food mill to process the sauce (or, alternatively, push it through a fine-mesh strainer), discarding the solids. The yield should be about 3 cups. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the veal and vegetables: Cut the meat into four 6-ounce portions; place each one between pieces of plastic wrap. Use a mallet to pound each portion to an even thickness of 1/8 inch. Discard the plastic wrap.
Heat a grill pan on the stovetop over high heat.
Meanwhile, cut four 1/4-inch slices lengthwise from the center section of the eggplant and peel them (reserving the remaining eggplant for another use, if desired). Combine the sliced eggplant, radicchio, 4 tablespoons of the oil and the vinegar in a mixing bowl; toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper on all sides. Grill the vegetables for a total of 8 miniutes, turning them over halfway through. Transfer to a cutting board to cool.
When cool enough to handle, cut the radicchio and eggplant into thin strips, then place on a plate and cover loosely until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly season the pounded veal slices with salt and pepper on both sides.
Use one-quarter of the grilled radicchio and eggplant strips to create a layer on top of each piece of pounded veal, then place 1 slice of the smoked mozzarella on top of the vegetable layer. Roll up tightly and use toothpicks to secure both ends, or the middle, of each "involtino."
Heat a large, ovenproof saute pan over medium heat, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the 4 involtini to the pan and cook for 4 minutes, turning them as needed, until lightly browned.
Pour the reserved tomato sauce evenly over the involtini to cover them, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened slightly.
If desired, cut each involtino in half, then stand the halves on end on the plate. Garnish with tender stems of baby arugula, if desired. Serve hot.
Adapted from a recipe by Haidar Karoum, executive chef at Proof in Penn Quarter.
Tested by Michael Taylor.
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