Osso Buco is a classic Italian dish of veal shanks braised with white wine, tomatoes, herbs and aromatic vegetables. The rich flavor of the slow-cooked veal takes center stage, accented perfectly by the simple combination of braising ingredients. Osso Buco is most often served over risotto, but we love the delicious sauce served over Creamy Polenta (recipe included). When making this dish, be sure to include the gremolata. The acidity of the lemon zest cuts through the richness of the veal and adds a fresh, bright component to the dish. Also, don't pass up the delicious, albeit decadent, marrow inside the bone - the flavor and texture is a rare treat.
- 6 pieces veal shank (each 2-inches thick, about 5-1/2 lbs total)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
- 1-1/2 cups onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-1/4 cups dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 cups beef stock
- 1-1/2 cups tomato purée
- For the gremolata:
- 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon, grated
If not already done by your butcher, tie each veal shank around the circumference with kitchen twine. Season them liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Roll the shanks in the flour to coat and set aside.
In a Dutch oven large enough to hold the veal in a single layer, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion and cook until the onions are pale golden in color, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for an additional minute, then transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Add the olive oil and the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add the shanks and brown them thoroughly on all sides, turning with tongs as needed. Once browned, transfer them to a plate.
Add the wine to the pan and bring it to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits with a spatula as it cooks. Add the carrot mixture along with the basil, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Arrange the veal shanks in a single layer on top.
Combine the stock and tomato purée, then pour the mixture over the shanks. Increase the heat to high just long enough for the liquid to reach a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Baste the shanks with the cooking liquid every 20 minutes or so ~ they should be fork-tender when done.
Combine the garlic, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl for the gremolata.
To serve, spoon a portion of polenta onto a plate and top with a veal shank. Ladle some of the sauce over the shank and sprinkle with gremolata. Serve extra sauce and gremolata at the table.
Makes 6 servings
- Creamy Polenta
- 2-1/2 cups milk
- 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup plain yellow corn meal
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Combine the milk, chicken broth, butter, garlic, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Add the corn meal, whisking constantly until well blended.
Reduce the heat to low and cook 8 to 10 minutes, continuing to whisk frequently until thickened. Stir in the cheese, mixing well. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings
Note: This is a slight variation on our standard polenta recipe that uses less cheese to better pair with the richness of the veal. To see the original click here.