So, what are you going to cook this weekend? Why not make this Italian classic originating from the Lombardy region? Osso Buco is an outrageously sumptuous and hearty dish that literately means “hollow bones or bones with holes”.
The meaning is rather incongruous considering it’s famously known and mostly consumed for the velvety rich marrow in the bones, which is the dish’s crowning glory.
With these veal shanks, try to have the butcher leave the skin on, as the long braising times makes for the shin to fall apart in its tenderness. The searing of the meat is essential in this dish, as caramelization promotes that earthy, umami deepening of flavor. Another essential component is the wine. Most recipes call for a dry white, but in this case a robust red will make the sauce substantially more complex and the necessary accompaniment has to be the gremolata, which makes this dish truly authentic.
There are many takes and versions of Osso Buco starting of how your Nonna prepared it passed down to your mom, but there is a very much argued debate whether the dish should include a tomato-based sauce, as some Italians believe the lacing of tomato would mask the delicate flavors of the accompanying gremolata.
Whichever ingredients are selected, more importantly, ensure you serve it alongside crispy baguette bread slices. That’s essential for mopping the heavenly sauce, as well as for spreading the nutty, deep flavored bone marrow, which here it’s the pièce de resistance and appropriately saved for last.
After the shanks have braised, carefully remove them with tongs placing them on serving plates, then add some butter to the sauce in the pan, as that’ll promote a glossy shine, making it even more decadent.
As for the accompaniments, it usually calls for a risotto, but I find that too rich. Mashed potatoes here are perfect and even the choice of some creamy polenta or simple pasta would be welcome.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F
6 veal shanks – about 1.5” thick
3 large carrots – scrapped and chopped into very fine cubes
4 celery sticks – chopped into very fine cubes
2 medium sized Spanish onions – chopped finely
6 garlic cloves – remove skins and leave whole
2 cups of red wine – such as Barolo or a deep earthy cabernet
2 cups of low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
½ TSP sugar
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 15 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes – diced undrained
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
3 TBSP flat leaf Italian parsley
2 strips of orange zest
2 strips of lemon zest
2 – garlic cloves minced
Pinch of Kosher salt
Remove the veal from the refrigerator about 1 hour before preparation. Season shanks with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and dust them with some all purpose flour. In a large skillet with high sides, heat up about 3 TBSP of olive oil and sear the shanks about 2 minutes per side and transfer them to a large roasting pan.
In a small bowl mix the lemon and orange zests, 2 minced garlic cloves, and the chopped parsley incorporating everything well together.
To the skillet add an additional TBSP of olive oil and a small pad of butter and sweat the mirepoix with the bay leaves for about 6 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and cook an additional 6 more minutes or until softened. Add the wine, the stock and the tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil and pour the liquid over the shanks in the roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil and braise for about 2 hours till very tender.
Remove each shank into serving plates and add about 2 TBSP butter to the juices in the pan and mix well. Adjust seasonings and spoon sauce over the veal. Sprinkle the gremolata over each shank and serve with crusty French baguette.