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cotoletta alla bolognese

Cotoletta alla bolognese

Cotoletta alla Bolognese, also known as Petroniana, is a very substantial main course, absolutely not to be missed if you spend a day in Bologna.

It is one of the typical dishes of the Emilian city, second only to the famous tagliatelle, tortellini, mortadella and rice cake, so much so that its original recipe was deposited in October 2004 by the Italian Academy of Cuisine at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce.

Cotoletta alla bolognese is a dish of very ancient origin and is said to have been served at banquets since the early 17th century.

The recipe of the traditional cotoletta alla bolognese

But what is it and how to prepare the cotoletta alla bolognese? As said, it is a very rich and substantial dish, prepared exclusively with veal slices. These are then fried in lard and immersed in meat broth to make them even softer and, finally, covered with a slice of raw ham and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

In short, certainly a very rich dish, typical of Emilian cuisine. Not for nothing, Bologna is called the “fat”.

Here is the original recipe!

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 4 slices of veal
  • 2 eggs
  • breadcrumbs
  • 4 slices of raw ham
  • 30 g of Pamigiano Reggiano
  • lard for frying (alternatively butter)
  • 1/2 glass of meat stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


First of all, flatten the slices with a meat mallet.
Beat the eggs adding a little salt and pepper and then dip the slices first into the eggs and then into the breadcrumbs.

Fry the veal cutlets in lard (or alternatively in butter) until they are golden brown on both sides. Then place a slice of ham and parmesan cheese on each slice and add a ladle of meat broth for each slice (possibly on the side of the pan and not directly on the slices).

Cook in a pan with lid for a few minutes, until the Parmesan cheese has melted.

Bologna style cutlet vs. Milanese style cutlet: the differences

The Cotoletta alla bolognese is perhaps less famous than the Milanese one, but both dishes are very appreciated all over Italy. We can say that the cotoletta alla bolognese is a bit more caloric, as it represents a typical dish of the Emilian cuisine.

Here you can find some differences between cotoletta alla bolognese and cotoletta alla milanese:

  • both are prepared with veal. The cotoletta alla bolognese, however, is served without the bone because the topside is used, the Milanese one with the bone because it’s prepared with veal rib chop.
  • the cotoletta alla bolognese is served thin and it’s flatten before being cooked. The Milanese cutlet, instead, is served thicker.
  • the cotoletta alla bolognese is enriched with raw ham, parmesan cheese and cooked in the broth, while the cotoletta alla milanese is only breaded and fried and it’is therefore simpler to prepare and less caloric.
  • the cotoletta alla bolognese, in the traditional recipe, is fried in lard. The Milanese one, instead, is fried in butter (even if this difference in recent years is often not maintained).

So, are you ready to taste the real cotoletta alla bolognese? During our gastronomic tour in Bologna you will try the original one in one of the oldest trattorias in the city.

Enjoy your meal!