I've made osso buco, an Italian dish of braised veal shanks, several times. I've eaten it in fine Italian restaurants but I've never really liked it until now.
What is Osso Buco?
"Osso Buco" means "hole of bone" because this marrow provides the rich flavor to the sauce. A marrow spoon, one of those long skinny spoons found in old sterling silverware sets, would come in handy with this dish, as the succulent shank marrow can be tricky to extract (I used the skinny end of a teaspoon).
How to Make Italian Osso Buco
This is a great recipe that my father pulled from the web a few years ago, which uses pancetta, instead of olive oil, for the browning of the veal and cooking the vegetables.
Olive oil is the traditional method, so if you want to skip the pancetta, just substitute several tablespoons of olive oil.
But the pancetta adds a lovely flavor dimension, and is probably the secret ingredient that has me liking osso buco for the first time. So use it if you can.
The gremolata (parsley, lemon zest, and garlic) is an important garnish for this dish, don't skip.
Watch This Easy Osso Buco Recipe
Substitutions for Veal
Veal is the traditional meat for osso buco, and probably what you're familiar with seeing on restaurant menus. But the shank portion of several animals can benefit from this same preparation.
Make Ahead Osso Buco
This braised dish is even better the next day so it's a convenient dish to make ahead when you're entertaining. When it's done cooking, allow it to cool completely before refrigerating in an airtight container.
Before reheating, remove any solidified fat. To reheat, add the shanks back into the Dutch oven, add a little stock, cover, and reheat at 325°F until just heated through, about 30 to 45 minutes. Start checking at 30 minutes. Do not reheat any longer than needed.
What to Serve With Osso Buco
- Creamy Polenta
- Mushroom Risotto
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Creamy Polenta With Garlic and Roasted Broccoli
- Cauliflower Rice
How to Freeze This Dish
Freeze leftover osso buco in freezer safe airtight containers or zipper bags. Osso buco will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator. To reheat, add the shanks in a Dutch oven, add a little stock, cover, and reheat at 325°F until just heated through, about 30 to 45 minutes. Start checking at 30 minutes. Do not reheat any longer than needed.
More Italian Entrée Recipes to Try!
Do not substitute bacon for the pancetta in this recipe.
For the Osso Buco
4 ounces pancetta, diced into 1/4 inch cubes (see recipe note)
2 1/2 to 3 pounds veal shanks (4 to 6 pieces 2 to 3 inches thick)
1/2 cup diced carrot (1/4-inch dice)
1/2 cup diced celery (1/4-inch dice)
1 medium onion, (1/4-inch dice)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic, (about 4 cloves)
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 cup dry white wine
1 to 2 cups chicken or veal stock
Flour for dusting the meat before browning
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons minced flat (Italian) parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Brown the pancetta:
Heat a Dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add pancetta to pan, cook, stirring occasionally.
When the pancetta is crispy and most of the fat has rendered (about 5 minutes of cooking), remove the pancetta to a plate covered with some paper towel and set aside.
If necessary, drain off all but two tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
Dredge shanks in flour, brown in pan:
Season the veal shank well with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal shanks with some flour, shake off any excess, and add the meat to the hot fat in the pan.
Increase the heat to medium high and cook the shanks on each side until well browned (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the shanks to a plate, set aside.
Sauté onions, carrots, celery:
Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the Dutch oven. Cook the onion mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes) and toss in the garlic and thyme.
Continue cooking until the vegetables just begin to brown (about 10 minutes).
Return the shanks to pan, add wine and stock:
Add the shanks and the pancetta back to the pan. Pour in the wine and then add enough stock to come a little more than halfway up the sides of the shanks.
Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and put it in the oven to cook until the meat is tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Combine the gremolata ingredients, place in a separate small serving dish.
Serve on top of risotto or polenta. Sprinkle with gremolata.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 25g||32%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||43%|
|Total Carbohydrate 13g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 6mg||32%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|