Osso Buco

Ever had osso buco? This Italian classic features succulent braised veal shank topped with a gremolata, a lively accompaniment of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Our osso bucco recipe has a secret ingredient: pancetta!

Osso Buco dished up

Sally Vargas

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).

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.

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.

Ladling osso buco out of a dutch oven.

Sally Vargas

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

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Watch This Easy Osso Buco Recipe

Substitutions for Veal

Veal shanks are 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. You'll want to use shanks for this; otherwise it's not osso bucco.

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Moose (shared from the comments!)

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 gently 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

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!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Osso Buco

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

Do not substitute bacon for the pancetta in this recipe. Pancetta isn't smoked, but bacon is. Bacon's smoky flavor will overpower this dish.

Ingredients

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

For the Gremolata

  • 2 tablespoons minced flat (Italian) parsley

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat the oven to 325°F.

  2. 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.

  3. Dredge the shanks in flour, brown in pan:

    Place the flour in a shallow bowl or deep plate.

    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.

    Dutch oven with meat for osso buco cooking inside.

    Sally Vargas

  4. Sauté the 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).

    A blue dutch oven with osso bucco inside.

    Sally Vargas

  5. 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.

    Ossobuco cooking in a blue dutch oven.

    Sally Vargas

  6. Make the 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)
631 Calories
25g Fat
13g Carbs
77g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 631
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 297mg 99%
Sodium 453mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 77g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 108mg 8%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 961mg 20%
*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.