Actor Stanley Tucci co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in Big Night, unarguably the best food movie of all time. In his honor, try his family’s beloved Topolini (veal rolls filled with two cheeses and garlic and finished with wine and celery leaves). Topolini is Italian for “mice” which the rolls resemble (okay, not that much).
This dish can also be made with chicken cutlets if they are pounded thin enough. When rolled up, these veal or chicken topolini should measure 2 1/2 to 3 inches in length and 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The dish tastes best if prepared ahead and warmed slowly before serving.
Topolini (Veal Rolls with Two Cheeses)
6 cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds) veal scallopine, pounded thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely diced provolone cheese (optional)
4 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese
4 tablespoons chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup celery leaves
16 ounces (2 cups) chicken broth
Lay each scallop of veal out flat and place in the center a little less than a demitasse spoon each of garlic, provolone and pecorino cheeses (if using both) and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Then roll each veal scallop up and tie in a bundle with white kitchen string (or close each veal roll with a toothpick).
Place the olive oil in a large saute pan. When the oil is hot, brown the veal rolls evenly on all sides. Remove the veal and set aside. Add the wine to the saute pan. Scrape the pan to get all the browned bits off the pan surface. Add the celery leaves. Add the chicken broth, place the veal rolls back in the pan and simmer, covered, for about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with pasta and/or a salad.
Timpano, a massive drum-sized casserole of pasta, mini-meatballs, salami, hard-boiled eggs, a variety of cheeses and tomato sauce, also co-starred in Big Night. Tucci’s mother shares the family recipe for Timpano in her cookbook Cucina & Famiglia written with Gianni Scappin and Mimi S. Taft.