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Osso Buco

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Osso Buco is a traditional Italian dish originating from Milan, known for its rich and flavorful braised veal shanks cooked slowly in a savory broth. The name “Osso Buco” translates to “bone with a hole,” referring to the marrow-filled bone in the center of the veal shank. This hearty and comforting dish is often served with gremolata—a zesty herb condiment—to brighten its flavors. Here’s a detailed recipe to help you recreate this classic Italian favorite at home.


Ingredients:

For the Osso Buco:

  • 4 veal shanks, about 2 inches thick, tied with kitchen twine (each about 12-14 ounces)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups beef or veal broth
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

For the Gremolata:

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For Serving:

  • Creamy polenta or mashed potatoes
  • Crusty bread

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Veal Shanks:

  1. Season the veal shanks generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Dredge each veal shank in flour, shaking off any excess.

2. Brown the Veal Shanks:

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the veal shanks to the pot and brown them on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pot.
  3. Remove the browned veal shanks from the pot and set them aside on a plate.

3. Prepare the Braising Liquid:

  1. In the same pot, add the remaining butter and olive oil.
  2. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, and minced garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Pour in the dry white wine and deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.
  4. Add the beef or veal broth, diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaves, dried thyme, and dried rosemary.
  5. Return the veal shanks to the pot, along with any accumulated juices.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer gently for 2-3 hours, or until the veal shanks are tender and the meat is falling off the bone. Stir occasionally and add more broth or water if needed to keep the shanks partially submerged.

4. Prepare the Gremolata:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the finely chopped parsley, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Mix well. This mixture is known as gremolata and will be used as a garnish to brighten the flavors of the Osso Buco.

5. Serve:

  1. Remove the veal shanks from the pot and place them on a serving platter.
  2. Spoon the braising liquid and vegetables over the veal shanks.
  3. Sprinkle the gremolata generously over the top.
  4. Serve the Osso Buco hot, accompanied by creamy polenta or mashed potatoes, and crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

Conclusion: Osso Buco is a soul-warming dish that epitomizes Italian comfort food with its tender braised veal shanks and aromatic, flavorful broth. This recipe captures the essence of traditional Italian cooking, perfect for a cozy family dinner or a celebratory meal. Enjoy the robust flavors and tender texture of Osso Buco with your loved ones. Buon appetito!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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