Osso Buco

Italian osso buco, made with veal shanks, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, pancetta, and gremolata with parsley, lemon zest, and garlic.

Osso Buco dished up

Sally Vargas

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.

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.

Ladling osso buco out of a dutch oven.

Sally Vargas

"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).

The gremolata (parsley, lemon zest and garlic) is an important garnish for this dish, don't skip.

Osso Buco

Total Time 0 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings


  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced 1/4 inch cubes (do not substitute bacon)

  • 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 cubes)

  • 1/2 cup diced celery (1/4 inch cubes)

  • 1 medium onion, diced 1/4 inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons (about 4 cloves) chopped garlic

  • 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

  • Gremolata

  • 2 tablespoons minced flat (Italian) parsley

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Brown the pancetta:

    Heat a dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat for about five 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.

  3. Dredge shanks in flour, brown in pan:

    Season the veal shank well with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal shanks through 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 meat on each side until well browned (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the shanks to a plate, set aside.

    Dutch oven with meat for osso buco cooking inside.

    Sally Vargas

  4. 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 five minutes) and toss in the garlic and thyme.

    Continue cooking until the vegetables just begin to brown (about 10 minutes).

    A blue dutch oven with osso bucco inside.

    Sally Vargas

  5. Return 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 half way up the side of the shanks.

    Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and put it in the oven to cook until the meat is tender, about an hour to an hour and a half.

    Ossobuco cooking in a blue dutch oven.

    Sally Vargas

  6. Make gremolata:

    Combine the gremolata ingredients, place in a separate small serving dish.

    Serve on top of risotto or polenta. Sprinkle with gremolata.

    Greens added to the top of osso bucco.

    Sally Vargas

    Cooked ossobucco in a dutch oven.
    Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
633 Calories
25g Fat
13g Carbs
77g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 633
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 297mg 99%
Sodium 464mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 77g
Vitamin C 7mg 35%
Calcium 113mg 9%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 995mg 21%
*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.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.