Vitello Tonnato; the update

The annual birthday dinner!

Sometimes we go out for dinner to celebrate our birthday, sometimes out to lunch, sometimes on a weekend getaway…. Sometimes we do none of the above.

Regardless of that whole bit, we always have a ‘Birthday Dinner’ at home.

Mon mari’s choice is almost always lamb chops, some sort of gratin potato and asparagus if I can find it. The starter varies from year to year…. whatever his current favorite is.

My choice is always Vitello Tonnato, pasta with fresh, home-made pesto, melon with dry-cured ham and whatever vegetable the garden gives me.

The problem is that, while I love mon mari’s birthday dinner, he barely tolerates mine.


That’s not totally true.

He likes everything but the Vitello Tonnato.

But things change…. Tastes change….

In the early years he left the room while I ate.

In more recent years he would grill a couple of hamburger patties and join me for the rest.

This year he actually ate the Vitello Tonnato.

I’m told it’s an acquired taste.

I acquired it the first time I tasted it years ago in Venice.

It’s a Northern Italian dish, not often seen on menus.

If one loves it…. One truly loves it.  It’s a DO (Digestive Org*sm)

I really, truly love it.

This is properly made with a veal roast that is braised for hours, then sliced thinly and served with the sauce.

This is my shortcut version…. Summer cooking!

I’ve included the traditional Tonnato Sauce as well as a version using commercial mayonnaise rather than the raw egg.

The recipe, Vitello Tonnato, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Vitello Tonnato.

Remember the fireplace?


We nows have a mantel as well as sides.


Yes, the sides are wood, but this will never be used as a fireplace.

We could open up the chimney and put a stove in, but the plan for the moment is simply candles and floowers.


I had to show you this tomato plant.

I have no idea how it remains upright.  It has so many tomatoes on it.

I have it tied to the poles for the green beans on one side and another tomato plant on the other.

I love summer….

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9 thoughts on “Vitello Tonnato; the update”

  1. I love summer, too, and it’s been great being able to visit you here and see the progress on your house.
    I have some hanging tomatoes, an experiment mon mari wanted to try. They have three small ones, and I am going to have one eggplant and one green pepper.
    I might have two squash, and that’s it.

  2. I have had a chicken dish “Tonnato” and it was delicious and intriguing. I could hardly believe the sauce was made with canned tuna – so I know a bit about your birthday dish. I’m glad ton mari is coming around.

  3. Did I leave a bad comment and you deleted it 😉 well I was sure I left one.
    The mantel is grand.
    We had a tomato plant like that one year that volunteered in the middle of the flower bed. We couldn’t believe how many tomatoes it produced and how really huge it got. This year it’s so hot nothing even blooms.

  4. Happy Birthday Katie. Love your mantel. Can’t say I would love the tonnato, but that is the fun of birthdays. All day belongs to you alone.

  5. Happy Birthday Katie! If it’s on the 13th, well that’s amazing, because so is mine! And if you and your husband share the same day, that’s incredible! Dinner looked delicious!

  6. Phoenicia, I have it tied to everything I can find to keep it upright LOL
    Mimi, the tomatoes and sweet corn were crazy this year, but not the squash… I told mon mari we’ll be eating more cauliflower this winter LOL
    Val, come for a week – we’ll make a big batch of it all LOL
    manningroad, I have this plant, and the one next to it has produced 1 tomato all summer. Go figure!
    Zoomie, chicken would be good – and I use the leftover sauce on pasta… delish!
    Tanna, not me! I’m a clueless but grateful gardener LOL
    Penny, you could eat with mon mari….. I’ll have your share.
    Kirsten, nope, I’m the 12th = hubs is June. Happy Belated Birthday!

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