Classic Saltimbocca

Classic Saltimbocca

Classic Saltimbocca

This Italian specialty has a number of variations, but the version pictured above captures the essential elements of the Classic form. Here, thin slices of veal are rolled around Prosciutto and fresh Sage leaves, then pan-fried and finished in a sauce incorporating Marsala Wine and Butter.

Ingredient Notes

Nowadays, Chicken or Pork are substituted for Veal in this recipe, especially in North America, indeed, you tend to come across more recipes using Chicken than the traditional Veal. I have actually used Pork many times, especially as good quality Veal is not always easy to come by. If this is the case for you, I would suggest lean Pork rather than Chicken as a substitute.

The Recipe Card below calls for Marsala Wine. White Wine is commonly used, with Marsala sometimes being included as an addition, but I have used it alone here as I very much like it in pan-sauces. If you don’t wish to use Marsala, you can use just White Wine instead, or else use a nice Sherry, or a Tawny Port.

Finally, I have used Capers here. These are not traditional, but they are not really heretical either and they won’t change the dish overmuch whether you include or omit them.

The Method

Preparing Veal Chops for Saltimbocca
Preparing Veal Chops for Saltimbocca

We need very thin slices of meat for this preparation, so first trim the chops of fat and then slice horizontally into 3 or 4 pieces. Next, gently pound each slice to make even thinner.

Flat-style Saltimbocca
Flat-style Saltimbocca

Some versions of Saltimbocca make little ‘rafts’ consisting of a piece of sage and a prosciutto pinned with a toothpick to the veal and then simply sautéed. The above picture, courtesy of Wikipedia, illustrates this but, today, we will be using an alternate method and make little rolls instead.

Making Saltimbocca Rolls
Making Saltimbocca Rolls

Here, we can make two rolls from each slice. After cutting the slices, it helps to pound one end even thinner as this will help the rolls stay closed without resorting to toothpicks to hold them together.

Slice the Prosciutto into small pieces about half the size of each pork section and place it on top of the meat along with a sage leaf (or half-thereof). Then, tightly roll and repeat with the remainder.

Pan-frying Classic Saltimbocca
Pan-frying Classic Saltimbocca

Dust the rolls lightly with flour, shaking off the excess, and then melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a pan over moderate heat. Pan-fry the rolls, seam side down at first, and then cook on all sides until golden. Remove to a warmed plate for the moment.

Making the Sauce for Saltimbocca
Making the Sauce for Saltimbocca

Finally, deglaze the pan using the stock and wine, and reduce the sauce until thickened. Whisk in the remaining butter, add the capers (if using) and return the rolls to the pan. Allow the rolls to finish cooking (just a few minutes or so) and then plate and serve with the pan sauce poured over.

Your Recipe Card:

Classic Saltimbocca

This Classic Saltimbocca rolls Prosciutto and Sage leaves in thin slices of Veal before pan-frying in a sauce of Butter and Marsala Wine.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Capers, Prosciutto, Sage, Veal, Marsala Wine
Author: John Thompson


  • 2 boneless Veal Chops;
  • 1 – 2 slices Prosciutto;
  • 6 – 12 Sage leaves;
  • Salt and Pepper;
  • ¼ cup Flour;
  • 4 tbsp. Butter;
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Stock;
  • 4 – 6 tbsp. Marsala;
  • 1 tbsp. Capers optional.


  • Slice the Chops horizontally into three pieces each, pound these until just a few millimeters thick, and then cut these to produce a dozen small rectangles.
  • Slice the Prosciutto into rectangles about half the size of the veal pieces.
  • Place one piece of Prosciutto at the end of each piece of Veal, top this with a Sage leaf and then roll tightly. If necessary, use toothpicks to close the rolls. Dust each roll with Flour.
  • Heat 3 Tablespoons of butter in a pan over moderate heat and Pan-fry the rolls until nicely browned. Remove to a warmed platter for the moment.
  • Deglaze the Pan using the Stock and Wine and reduce until it is about half the original volume.
  • Whisk in the Butter and add the Capers, followed by the Veal rolls. Cook until heated through and serve the rolls with the pan-sauce poured over.


  1. Hi John, to me it is a bit strange to call these “classic” and then roll them up instead of flat, and add capers. That doesn’t mean they’re not good, of course. However, frying the sage and prosciutto does bring out their flavor a bit better. (You are also supposed to fry the prosciutto and sage side first, so the other side is cooked in the sage and prosciutto flavored fat.)

    1. Author

      Actually, I have had them served rolled more commonly than not (only once flat, I think). Maybe that is a North American thing.

      1. Probably. Most Italian restaurants in North America are 2nd if not 3rd or 4th generation, and serve dishes that have evolved separately from the homeland.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!