Let’s start preparing our vitello tonnato by taking a large pot where we will put about 2 liters of water. We then add the wine, the vegetables, the aromatic herbs, the salt, the pepper and let it boil.

After about 10 minutes from boiling, add the meat, cloves and cook for about an hour or two, in a covered pot. If the broth is not enough, add more hot water.

At this point we drain the veal (or round) and let it cool by placing it between two flat plates with a weight on the upper plate. By doing so, when sliced, the slices will be more compact.

In the meantime, let’s prepare the tuna sauce. First, let the tuna drain well from the oil before crumbling it; then put it in the glass of the blender and add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, anchovy fillets, capers and a grind of pepper. We blend everything until obtaining a smooth and homogeneous cream. If the cream is too thick, dilute it with a little broth from the meat. Season with salt and check if you need to add more lemon juice.

Take the meat and cut it into very thin slices, carefully placing them slightly overlapping on a serving dish covered with salad leaves. At this point, let’s add a glaze of tuna sauce.

Finally, we decorate the dish with the veal in tuna sauce with some capers and with the carrot, drained from the cooking broth, cut into rounds.

Useful tips for preparing veal with tuna sauce:

You can make the tuna sauce lighter by blending, together with all the ingredients, a piece of carrot and a piece of onion drained from the broth.

The meat cooking broth, which will be very tasty and fragrant, can be, after filtering it, used for risotto or vegetable soups. If you want to keep the broth better freeze it.


Vitello tonnato (or vitel tonné) is a typical dish of Piedmontese cuisine and is served as an appetizer or main course. Although known by its French name, this recipe is all Italian and in Italy it was already eaten in the eighteenth century, albeit with some variations.

It probably originated in the Cuneo area where the meats were already flavored with strong condiments.

In Piedmont, salted anchovies, a fundamental ingredient of the tuna sauce, were also widespread among farmers. The recommended part of veal in the eighteenth century was the rump, to be cut into thin slices and seasoned with anchovy sauce and oil and then served cold. The absence of tuna continued practically until the nineteenth century, when Pellegrino Artusi formalized the recipe in his well-known cooking manual.

In the twentieth century, mayonnaise was also added to the sauce.