Never has a food post elicited so many variations to a recipe (and an invitation to try a veal cotoletta here in LA). That’s Italy for you. Every dish, especially the most common ones, that were put, day in and day out, on the dinner table, all have twists and turns depending on the region and the cook.
Here are two good examples. Silvia’s mother, originally from Naples, dressed up her cotoletta with tomato sauce. When thinking of Italian cooking, a good rule of thumb is that the more south you travel down the boot, the more tomato and spices and garlic you will see added to any recipe. And there are good reasons. Southern Italian tomatoes are delicious, juicy and sweet and ripened under a generous sun. In the old days, pre-refrigeration, in areas where the heat took its toll, spices helped mask raw food that might not have been, how can I say it?, market fresh. And through the centuries, those flavours stuck.
On the other hand, Annamaria, who hails from Milan, had a mom who probably went through the war and was adept at recycling every bit of left over. And what a good idea. She would use the leftover breadcrumbs, mix them with the leftover eggs and roll them into “vegetarian meatballs”, to be fried alongside the cutlets. Wish I had thought of it. What a treat!
RECIPE FOR SOUTHERN COTOLETTA
Follow the steps from the previous recipe until n.2
Oil a roasting pan and place the meat in a 400F oven and let cook until golden.
Remove from oven and add tomato sauce (preferably home-made) and a healthy dose of Grated Parmesan.
Add peas and mix.
Lower the temperature to 350F and cook until the sauce is heated through and the cheese has melted.