Faux Cima 

(Special Stuffed Breast of Veal)



Cima alla Genovese is a famous and delicious dish.  It has been called one of the glories of Italian cooking, and is made on special occasions. It is served as either an appetizer or main dish.  Often a green sauce is served with it.  The green sauce can be made from arugula, basil, parsley or a mixture and can  include pine nuts and Parmesan cheese along with enough olive oil to make a thick liquid like sauce.  The objective here is to emulate a Cima alla Genovese, but to make it with far less fat and calories than the original.  We have named it Faux Cima as we try hard not to change classical dishes and confuse our interpretations with the original.  

While the ingredients for the most part derive from our imaginations, the methodology is the same as that outlined in G. Bugialli's book "Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking" While the ingredient list is rather lengthy, the preparation is not difficult.


2 Lbs.  Veal sweetbreads
1 3-4 Lb. Veal breast - boned and pocketed
1 Lb. Buffalo meat - ground
1 Lb. Turkey meat - extra lean and ground
1 Pkg. Egg substitutes or the whites of four fresh eggs
3 Lg. eggs - hard cooked
1 1/2 Cups  Pistachios - shelled
1/2 Lg. Bell pepper-red: diced
2 Lg. Celery stalks - diced
1 Med. Onion - diced
3 Cups Stale bread - broken into pieces
1/2 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
2 Cups Peas - shelled and blanched
Q.B.     Salt and pepper

Preparation of the Sweetbreads

Soak the sweetbreads in vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water) for about 1 hour.  At the end of this time remove as much membrane as possible by pulling it off the sweetbreads.  Bring a 3 quart pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add the sweetbreads and cook for about 5 minutes.  Submerge in ice water to cool.  Remove any remaining membranes and then cut the sweetbreads into small pieces. Set aside.

Preparation of the Stuffing

Soak the bread in either milk or water.  After it is soft, (about 30 minutes) squeeze out most of the liquid and set aside.

Meanwhile to a large mixing bowl add the ground buffalo, the ground turkey, the egg substitutes or egg whites, the pistachios, bell pepper, diced celery and onion.  Mix well.  Add the bread, and the olive oil and mix again. Add the sweetbreads and the peas, mix a third time.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preparation of the Faux Cima

Using a large spoon or your hands,  fill the pocket of the breast of veal with about half of the stuffing.  Place three hard cooked eggs in a line  on the stuffing in the veal and press into the stuffing. Add the remaining stuffing to the pocket and press and shape to pack the stuffing.

Roll the breast in such a way that it resembles a loaf of bread.   Wrap it in cheesecloth, then tie it with kitchen string as one would a sausage.  We find that about 5 tires around the short side and two (orthogonal to each other) around the long axis work well. 

Bring a pot of water to which an onion, a carrot and a celery stalk have been added to a slow boil.  Add the cima to the pot, and allow it to cook simmering for about 2.5 hours.

At the end of this time, remove the cima from the water, and allow to drain for about 10 minutes.  Place it in a shallow pan, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil, and then place another shallow pan over that.  Place  two or three heavy bricks on the topmost pan, and allow the weight of these to squeeze the liquid from the cima.  After about an our, remove the bricks and pour the liquid out.  Reassemble and allow the draining under weight to continue for about 4 hours.  After this time, remove, pat dry and place in the refrigerator  over night.  Remove the cheesecloth and the string in the morning.

The cima is ready to eat.  It may be sliced and served cold as is: A green sauce [see note above] can be prepared and it can be served with this.  Another nice dish is to cut the cima into 1 inch squares and cook it with fried peppers,  Serve this latter dish with Piadina.

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Last updated on:03/18/00 01:29:33 PM