Osso Buco

>> Sunday, February 12, 2017

Osso Buco

Our love story begins with the post "He Cooks for Me", on Angela's life blog, angelawd.wordpress.com.

“I’d like to cook for you,” He said, a few months after we started dating. “Why don’t you come over for Easter dinner?”

I was excited. News of his prowess in the kitchen had spread throughout our circle of friends at both churches. My girls, according to the alternating visitation schedule, would be with their dad, and my family was too far away to visit. I was glad I wouldn’t spend another holiday alone.

When I got to his condo, I could smell dinner all the way down the hallway – a rich, garlicky aroma. “It smells delicious,” I said. “What are we having?”

“Osso Buco”, He said, wiping his hands on his personalized apron.

He owns his own apron! I shouted to myself. “Osso Buco, that’s great!”

“Have you heard of it before?”

“Uh, no, actually not.”

“It’s braised veal shanks. A classic Italian recipe.”

I was utterly impressed. Guys took me out to steakhouses or seafood places; when they cooked a fancy dinner for me, it was inevitably a steak, a baked potato, and some wine. No one had ever cooked me a meal I’d never even heard of before.

I watched him sprinkle chopped fresh parsley in a delicate pattern over our dishes, and then serve steaming veal with a thick red sauce onto each plate. There were candlesticks and placemats, and a wine that he had to explain before I even had a taste. Something Italian and as dark red and rich as the meal; he had chosen it to complement the veal. I appreciated the explanation. I was used to $3 bottles of White Zinfandel.

When I could eat no more, I sat back and rubbed my stomach.

“What do you think?” He asked.

“I think I love it,” I said, meaning the meal, the wine, the idea of a man who cooks especially for me. Two years later I married him, and in September we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.

Wiping away Joe's tear after he said his wedding vows.

Joe actually calls this version of his recipe "Fauxo Buco", because it uses beef shanks rather than the astronomically expensive veal shanks. I call it delicious.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 to 7 pounds beef or veal shank sawed into 2 1/2 inch sections
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup beef stock
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves

For the Gremolata (herb topping)

1 tbsp grated lemon peel
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced


In a large casserole or Dutch oven, melt half the butter and oil over medium heat. Saute the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until tender. Remove to a separate plate.

Stir together the salt, pepper, and flour, and roll the meat in the mixture. Melt the rest of the butter and oil in the Dutch oven, then brown the meat on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Add the vegetables to the meat.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Pour the wine and broth into the casserole pan, and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the basil, thyme, tomatoes, parsley sprigs and bay leaves; the liquid and vegetable should halfway cover the meat. If it doesn't, add more broth or water. Bring the pan to a boil, then cover and place in the center of the oven.

Braise the meat for about 1 1/2 hours, basting it with the juices occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is thickened and stew-like. Serve the meat arranged on a serving platter with the vegetables and sauce. 

Alternatively, you can pour some creamy polenta onto individual plates, then arrange a shank and the vegetables over the top. Sprinkle the servings with the gremolata—the piquant garnish of lemon zest, parsley, and garlic.

Serves 6-8.


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