Buon giorno! It’s Friday and time to share one of my favorite recipes, Ossobuco. Chances are many of you have experienced this slow braised dish at your favorite Italian restaurant. But, I’m going to show you how to make it at home. It’s easy to prepare and even better to share.
Ossobuco is traditionally prepared using veal shanks. In this recipe, I use lamb (they were on sale) but you can use the shank of any meat cut in the traditional across the bone pattern. (Ask your butcher to cut if unavailable ) The literal translation from Italian is osso-bone, bucco-hole. The shank, usually the cheapest cut of meat, is separated at the knuckle and cross-cut to expose the marrow. The bone is left in and the meat is slowly cooked. The mineral rich marrow simmers in wine and vegetables to create a clear hole-in-one dining experience.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Start with 2-4 veal or lamb shanks. Each shank when cut will yield two servings.
Dredge lightly with flour and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Braise each side of meat 3 to 4 minutes on medium until light golden brown in 2-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. (dependent on number of shanks, just don’t let them burn.) Set aside.
***I do all my cooking from stove top to oven in a cast iron dutch oven. At this point, I wipe out my pot.
Cook 3 slices of bacon or pancetta and set aside. Retain the drippings.
Chop one medium onion, 3 carrots and 2 stalks celery and saute in drippings until soft.
Add 3-5 cloves of peeled and mashed garlic (dependent on your taste) in the last five minutes of sauteing vegetables.
Add one tsp of dried oregano and prepare a bouquet garni.*
***2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs of thyme and five sage leaves bind in kitchen twine to create a bundle or wrap in cheesecloth and bind. Discard bouquet after cooking.
Add one Tbsp of tomato paste and and combine.
Add 1 and 1/2 cups of dry red wine to sauteed vegetable mixture and bring to boil. Reduce by half.
Return braised shanks and bacon(crumbled) to mixture. Fill pot with beef stock until it reaches 3/4 way up the shanks.
Toss in bouquet garni.
Cover and cook for 1 and 1/2 hours. Turn meat after first hour and check level of liquids. Add more if needed. It should be reduced by half. Continue to cook covered for full 1 and 1/2 hours.
Remove lid and return to oven for an additional 30 minutes until meat is falling away from bone and the sauce is thick and savory.
Let rest on stove top covered for 15 minutes before serving. The meat will continue to cook and the sauce will thicken. Remember to discard bouquet garni.
Serving suggestions: Your favorite Risotto recipe, seasonal vegetables and a side of gremolata garnish. (a combination of chopped parsley, lemon zest, olive oil and crushed garlic) Don’t forget the Italian bread. You will want to sop up every drop of the this savory sauce!