Veal Chops with Fontina
6 bone-in veal rib chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick, 8 to 10 ounces each
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces shredded fontina from Valle d’Aosta (or Italian Fontal; see box, page 74)
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging, plus more as needed
12 fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup hot chicken broth
A meat mallet; a heavy-bottomed ovenproof saucepan or enameled cast-iron French oven, 6-quart capacity, with a cover
Arrange an oven rack to accommodate the covered saucepan, and heat the oven to 400°.
Trim the chops, leaving only a thin layer of fat. With a sharp, thin knife, slice horizontally into the outer edge of each chop, splitting the meaty portion in two almost all the way to the bone, forming a pocket for stuffing. With the mallet, pound and spread the meaty part, flattening it to 1/2-inch thickness. Lift the top flap of the meat you just sliced apart, hold it up, and pound the bottom flap of meat a few more times, spreading it thinner and wider than the upper flap. When all the chops are sliced and pounded, salt them on both sides, using a teaspoon in all.
Toss together the shredded fontina and the grana (grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano), and divide the cheeses into six equal portions. One at a time, lightly compress the cheese portions into oval patties, and slip them into the sliced chop pockets. Fold the larger bottom meat flap over the top flap—enclosing the cheese—and thread a toothpick through both flaps to keep them together. (The chops can be prepared up to this point a day in advance, sealed in plastic wrap, and refrigerated.)
Put 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in the big pan, and set over medium-high heat. Spread the flour on a plate, dredge each chop on both sides, shake off excess flour, and lay it in the pan. When all the chops are in the pan, drop the sage leaves in between them. Cook the chops for 5 minutes or more, turning them once or twice, until well browned on both sides.
Clear a space in the pan bottom, drop in the tomato paste, and toast it in the hot spot for a minute. Pour the wine over the tomato paste, stir them together, and shake the pan to distribute the liquid. Bring it to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes or so, to reduce.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and whisk it into the pan liquid. Turn the chops over, pour in the chicken stock, sprinkle on the remaining salt, and bring to a boil.
Cover the pan, and place in the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes, then remove the cover and roast another 10 minutes or so, until the chops are done and the sauce has thickened.
Remove from the oven, and place the chops on a warm platter. (Drape a towel over the handle of the pan when it comes out of the oven to remind you it is very hot.) If the sauce is thin, put the pan over high heat and reduce until the sauce has the consistency you like.
Serve right away—while the cheese is still oozing—arranging all the chops on a warm platter and spooning the sauce over, family-style, or on warm dinner plates with mashed potatoes alongside and sauce drizzled over. (If you do have fresh white truffle, shave it on the top of each chop at this moment.)