Veal Yadayim/Grandma Rena’s Veal & Tomato Sauce Pasta

Growing up, we always thought Grandma Rena was the best cook! Our parents still make fun of us that we liked her can of Hunt’s tomato sauce over a box of boiled pasta better than theirs, but what can we say, there was something special about it.

Recently, our dad started buying veal so that our mom could recreate his mom’s veal pasta. We’ve been trying to recreate her recipe, and while it will probably never be as good as grandma’s, we can come close to it.

I made it for just me and David for a regular weeknight meal, but it’s a regular part of the Blanco Shabbat dinner rotation. If you have leftovers, it is even delicious straight out of the fridge on Saturday afternoon. It’s also a good substitute for chicken and spaghetti or spaghetti and meatballs, because you can never have too many pasta-and-meat-in-one-pot dishes.

The trick is for the noodles to be kind of dry; you don’t want so much extra sauce! And to cook the meat for a long, long, long time without overcooking the pasta. And beware of sneaky family members that try to pick out all of the meat!

Veal Yadayim, serves 2 – but can easily be doubled, quadrupled, or whatever!


  • 1/2 lb. pasta – I like to use ridges pasta since the sauce sticks to it well.
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb. veal medallions
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat garlic in a little bit of olive oil a pan or dutch oven until it is fragrant, about a minute.
  2. Add veal and raise the heat. Brown the veal with the garlic, mixing often so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the tomatoes and spices. Let boil, lower the heat and simmer for two hours (or more!), until the meat is tender.
  4. Cook the pasta and take it out when it is still undercooked – it will cook more in the sauce.
  5. Drain the pasta and put it in the sauce. Raise the heat to medium and mix well, coating the pasta in the sauce.