Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Saltimbocca Roma-style
( “Saltimbocca” alla romana )

Traditional recipe

Veal saltimbocca are escalopes wrapped in ham and sage and cooked in melted butter. It's an authentic Roman recipe well known all over the world. An easy to do way to cook veal escalopes that you can adapt to chicken breast slices too. Calories are not high, if you follow my doses.

difficulty: easy

time: preparation: 20 minutes
cooking: 20 minutes
total time: 40 minutes

calories: 231 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 400g (14 ounces) veal, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 120g (4 1/4 ounces) ham, cut into thin slices
  • 16 sage leaves
  • 40g (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper, if liked
  • Toothpicks
easy recipe
preparation: 20 minutes
cooking: 20 minutes
total time: 40 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 231 (kcal) 12 % - 964 (kJ)
Protein: 29.6 (g) 60 % GDA
Total fat: 12.4 (g) 18 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 0.1 (g) 1 % GDA
Sugars: 0.1 (g) 1 % GDA

Download free PDF version (188 download).

Recipe for Roman-style saltimbocca


  • - Remove fat from every slice of veal using a knife or scissors.
    Halve them, if necessary. You have to reach the dimensions you can see in the photo.
  • - Cut ham slices into little pieces with the same dimensions of veal slices. They must be the double of meat slices.
  • - Wash sage leaves and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
  • - Spread out and pound veal slices.
    Lay a slice of ham, a sage leaf and another slice of ham on each one, securing them with a toothpick.


  • - Melt butter in a non-stick frying pan.
    Arrange saltimboccas in it, season to taste with salt (but remember that ham is already salted!) and pepper, if liked.
    Cook them over a high heat, 1-2 minutes.
    Turn them over as soon as they have colored and finish their cooking quickly on the other side.

Just before serving

  • - Remove saltimboccas from your pan.
    Pour in 2 tablespoons warm water and reduce cooking juice over a high flame.
    Serve saltimboccas topped with their gravy, still hot.



  • - Take note: saltimboccas shouldn't be rolled up even if some Italians do it!
  • - I tested this recipe with 3 tablespoons olive oil instead of butter. The result was good but it is not the same if compared with the authentic recipe. It can be a solution for people intolerant to butter or people who have to eat less fat.
  • - Sometimes, I prepare the final sauce adding wine instead of water. The recipe is better according to me.

Menu planning

  • - Saltimboccas are accompanied with potato, pea or carrot side dishes, traditionally.
  • - Serve this dish in your family menus and get-togethers to let your friends and relatives know Italian cooking better. All year round recipe.

Healthy eating

  • - Fibers are obviously absent. Precisely for this reason I prefer to serve Roman saltimbocca dish in my family menu accompanied by seasonal vegetables rich in fiber or mixed salads (mixed greens with fennel and oranges or grated raw carrots, walnuts and lettuce ...).
    I associate two sources of protein such as meat and peas very rarely.


What's the right wine for " Saltimbocca Roma-style "?

The perfect matching for saltimbocca, Roman style is Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (red wine).

A little history

It's difficult to say where this recipe was born. Certainly Pellegrino Artusi (an Italian writer, literary critic and gourmet who lived in the nineteenth century and wrote "Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well") tasted saltimbocca dish in an old restaurant in Rome at the end of nineteenth century. He told another old restaurant prepared the same recipe. In the next years there was somebody that said it had origin in Lombardy. In any case it's the most well known Italian dish in the world after spaghetti.