Osso buco, translated to “bone with a hole” is much more than its mundane name suggests. Here at the farm we can’t get enough osso bucco! Inside that “bone hole” lies vitamin packed marrow with a luxurious texture and rich flavor, outside is melt-in-your-mouth tender beef. This particularly decadent cut of meat is traditionally flavored with mirepoix and bay leaf and topped with the herb and oil mix, gremolata. We thoroughly enjoy this modern version of the recipe, accentuated by tomatoes and white wine.
The fat tissue in bone marrow is a great source of the hormone adiponectin. Recent studies show this particular hormone aids in the break down of fats, helps maintain insulin levels, and decrease risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity related cancers.
We love Giada’s video of Osso buco because it’s simple and elegant but you may want to try the more traditional recipe we adapted from the Wall Street Journal.
(adapted from the Wall Street Journal)
ACTIVE TIME: 1½ Hours total
TIME: 4 HOURS
For the osso buco:
8 shanks of veal, each about 12 ounces, ideally about 2 or 3 inches thick, marrow intact
Sea salt and pepper
Flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, cut into lardons
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ cup chopped canned tomatoes
3 bay leaves
3 cups dry white wine, preferably Italian, or more as needed
2 cups veal stock, or more as needed
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Pinch of paprika (optional)
Fleur de sel
For the gremolata:
Grated zest of 3 lemons
Grated zest of 1 orange
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pat shanks dry with paper towels, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Spread flour in a wide pasta bowl or pie dish.
2. Melt butter with oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add pancetta and cook until it begins to render its fat. Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the onion translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
3. Increase heat to medium-high. Dredge shanks in the flour and give them a little shake to remove excess flour before transferring to the skillet and browning on all sides. You will either need to do this in two skillets or two batches.
4. Place browned veal and vegetable-pancetta mixture into a Dutch oven. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, wine, stock, cayenne and paprika. Depending on the saltiness of your stock, you may need to season shanks with additional salt. (I use a 6.75 quart wide round Le Creuset oven and am able to fit shanks in one layer. If shanks do not fit in one layer in your cooking vessel, increase amount of wine and stock so as to submerge meat.)
5. Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 2½ hours.
6. Bring osso buco to room temperature, then keep chilled in the refrigerator overnight. The day of serving, remove the osso buco from the fridge, skim the layer of fat that will have formed on the surface and discard. This will leave a more intense and less fatty sauce.
7. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bring the osso buco to a simmer over medium heat. Transfer to the oven and reheat until ready to serve—at least 1 hour, can be longer. This is a dish that rewards long, slow cooking.
8. At this point, check for seasoning. If you want to reduce sauce, remove shanks and boil sauce down until it thickens. If you are serving the osso buco at a formal dinner, you might want to strain the sauce and discard vegetables.
9. Right before serving, make the gremolata by grating the zest and mincing parsley and garlic. With your fingers, toss these ingredients together in a little bowl. Sprinkle this liberally on each shank once plated.
A grinding of fleur de sel and fresh pepper complete the dish.