Osso buco is the classic dish to make with veal shanks, and it is as delicious as it is easy to prepare. First made in Milan, osso buco translates from Italian to “hole in the bone,” since the marrow melts out of the bone as the meat around it braises. After a crisp fall day working on my family’s farm, osso buco is the ultimate comfort meal.
To prepare this savory dish I looked at two trusty kitchen resources: the Silver Spoon, Italy’s equivalent of “Joy of Cooking,” and Jamie Oliver, the master of culinary simplicity. With the basics in mind, I followed these steps.
Garlic (3 cloves)
Medium carrots (3)
Celery (3 stalks)
Tomato (3 – 4 peeled, either canned or fresh)
4 veal shanks
Sprigs of rosemary or thyme (4)
White wine (2 cup, to sip and to add!)
Prepare the veal
Season the shanks with salt and pepper, then lightly dust them with flour. Heat a lug of olive oil heat in a skillet until it’s hot but not smoking, and then brown the meat on all sides over medium heat. When golden brown, remove the shanks from the skillet and set them in a deep, casserole-style dish.
Prepare the vegetables
Chop the carrots and celery, dice the onions, and finely slice the garlic. Heat a lug of olive oil on the same skillet, and then add the vegetables. Cook them for five minutes on medium heat until they become translucent.
Combine the vegetables in the deeper meat dish, with about 2 cups of white wine and the springs of herbs. Pop it in the oven at 350 for about two hours, or until the marrow has started to drip through the bone and the meat is falling off.
Remove the dish from the oven, and remove the braised meat from the dish. Place the remaining vegetables and liquid on the stove over medium heat to let the sauce boil down to a thicker stew, and then recombine before serving.
Serve the osso buco with dishes like roasted potatoes, leek risotto, creamy polenta, or even a crust of rustic Italian bread. I cooked Italian pearl farro in some of the braising liquid. However you choose to eat it, osso buco is an undeniably gratifying meal.