Veal Ribs with Fontina with Vallee d’Aosta Torrette Supèrieur #ItalianFWT

One of the things I love most about food and wine is their ability to transport one to a different place.  And a  place’s people, culture, and customs are reflected in its food and wine.  In that sense, one can virtually travel the world through food and wine.  And that is exactly what we are doing through Italian Food Wine and Travel (#ItalianFWT).  We are taking a virtual tour of Italy by exploring its food and wines.  This month we’re exploring Vallee d’Aosta (Aosta Valley)!

Valle d’Aosta is the smallest, and least populated  region in Italy. It’s located in the mountainous northwest corner mountainous corner of Italy’s where the nation’s borders meet those of France and Switzerland.  As a result of a long-ago mingling of the French Provençal and northern Italian cultures Italian and French are the official languages. And the co-mingling of French and Italian culture is also evident in the local architecture and at the dining table. 

Val d’Aosta is overlooked by some of Europe’s highest mountains, including Mont Blanc , the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino), Monte Rosa, and Gran Paradiso.  Not surprisingly the region offers some of the best skiing in Europe. And when the snow melts, spectacular hiking and other outdoor activities.

On my plate

After poking around on the web a bit, I found a recipe for Veal Ribs with Fontina, a meat dish with an intense flavor, typical of the Aosta Valley cuisine.  It’s essentially veal chopped stuffed with Fontina Cheese.

Fontina is a classic Italian cheese that’s been made in the Aosta Valley since the 12thcentury.

I had some cornmeal on hand so, I decided to whip up some polenta.  I found a recipe for Polenta with Fontina and Thyme.  And last, but not least, with the polenta firmly in mind, I decided to whip up Herb Butter too. (recipe below)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but it has literally been decades since I’ve had eaten veal, and I’ve never actually prepared it before.  And my wife has never had it.
Veal Ribs with Fontina and Herb Butter with Polenta with Thyme and Fontina

Fortunately, this was a pretty straight-forward preparation.  And it turned out beautifully!

A rich, decadent treat, these veal chops—crisp with a bread crumb crust and oozing fontina cheese—can be assembled long before dinnertime and take only about 15 minutes to cook

What I liked about this dish is that it

In my glass

Quite naturally, the vineyards in Valle d’Aosta are home to some of Europe’s highest vineyards.  French grape varieties are just as common as Italian grape varieties.  And the region is home to  a diverse selection of indigenous grapes. Petit Rouge is arguably the most important of these (besides Picotendro, a local clone of Nebbiolo).

Here’s what New York Times wine critic, Eric Asimov says of Aosta Valley wines…Of the many wrinkles in the Italian wine tapestry, one of the wrinkliest is about as far northwest as you can go in Italy. There, tucked away in the Alps beneath looming Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in the chain, is the smallest Italian viticultural region, brimming with little-known wines capable of offering great pleasure.

It was a challenge to find a Valle d’Aosta wine.  My usually reliable wine store didn’t have any. Fortunately, I found the 2010 Maison Anselmet Torrette Supèrieur. 

Blend of 70% Petit Rouge the dominant red grape in the Aosta Valley; along with a 30% blend of lesser known red wine grapes – Fumin, Mayolet, Cornalin that are indigenous to the region. The wine was aged in French barriques.

Befitting a region that borders France…the label is in both Italian and French!

My tasting notes follow:

Ruby color with rose hips, mixed black and red fruit, and cinnamon aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, fresh and well balanced with a wonderful velvety texture and polished tannins with black cherry, plum, pomegranate and a bit of blackberry flavors with an appealing saline minerality and a long spicy finish. The wine reminded me of a Cru Beaujolais.

The wine was a wonderful partner for our dinner. It was very good with the Veal Ribs.  But it was even better with the Polenta with Fontina.  

And be sure to check out what my fellow #ItalianFWT have to share with you:

Join us Saturday November 7th where our blogging group shares our experiences on the food, wine and travel to this region.  A live chat will be held Saturday November 7th at 11am on Twitter at #ItalianFWT and we’d love to hear from you.


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11 Comments Add yours

  1. winner winner veal dinner! Wow! I have already confiscated the recipe for this dish. YUM! I still have some of my wine left so it looks like a veal dinner is in our near future. Thanks Martin. Cheers!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Michelle! It turned out quite well! Good luck making yours..

  2. Sorry, me again. I have read the recipe and I have a couple of questions. How did you cut the meat in half horizontally while leaving it connected to the bone? Once the meat is cut do you stuff the cheese between the two slices of meat then gentle pound with a tenderizer? I am a bit confused by the directions. Thanks Martin!

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Hi Michelle, when I picked up the meat from the butcher I had him slice it to the bone for me. I would recommend a very sharp knife and having the veal slightly frozen. Also important to get veal rib chop rather than loin chop. Yes, once the meat is sliced you put the cheese between the meat (should open like a book). The recipe called for slices of fontina. I grated mine to ensure it would meal. I actually skimped a bit because I wanted some fontina for my polenta, but you can pack it in. I didn’t have a meat tenderizer so I pounded with the palm of my hand which seemed to work well…good luck. Let me know how it turns out…

      1. Excellent. Thank you Martin!

  3. TheWiningHour says:

    Your food looks awesome! I hardly ever make veal…but I may have to revisit that. In fact, I never made polenta either! Thanks for the great recipes. I have to try the Maison Anselmet Torrette Supèrieur.

  4. culinarycam says:

    Wow. You might have just convinced me to make veal. Maybe. I will try the polenta for sure!

  5. Looks like we made a similar dish. I actually realized my veal picture didn’t upload while I was away so I need to fix that. I just did cutlets with fontina.

  6. That veal chop is making my mouth water! It looks fabulous. I loved the wines from this region – going to track your wine down, it sounds terrific. Cheers!

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