Osso Buco with Gremolata
has to be one of the all time great braises. Meaty veal shanks browned and simmered in a rich sauce of tomatoes, wine and aromatics served on risotto or mashed potatoes then sprinkled with fresh and zesty Gremolata and you’re in comfort food heaven.
This is exactly the sort of dish we turn to when the weather turns all cold and dark. You just want to stay at home and have a hearty meal cooking away in the oven and scenting the house with the promise of a delicious meal coming up.
Is quite literally known as ‘hollow bones’ or,’ bones with holes’ is actually slow braised veal or beef, yet these bones are not actually hollow at all, but enclosing a delicious, rich marrow, which is the dishes greatest fame. You’ll not get much more than a teaspoon or so from each piece, but for some it is the absolute prize!
The hind shank produces a ring of meat from the shin that is the most tender and sweetest. During the cooking process the marrow melts into the sauce, producing a bone with a hole in the centre, hence the name, Osso Buco.
buying your Osso Buco meat
Osso Buco is an extremely popular cut of meat in the Winter months. Nine out of ten times what is called Osso Buco will likely be beef, not veal. Not that it matters it’s just that the classic Osso Buco recipe calls for veal shanks.
In Australia, it’s difficult to buy veal, especially from a supermarket. You would need to source a quality, specialist butcher and typically, it’s expensive.
Whether it’s veal or beef the most important thing to look for is the ‘marbling’, that is the bits of sinew that are spread throughout the meat. This breaks down and keeps the meat very moist and fork tender.
If we can’t find Osso Buco with this marbling we make something else, as experience has shown us that no marbling equals a drier meat, and we definitely don’t want that.
cooking Osso Buco
First up saute off the ‘soffritto’ which is the Italian term for the holy trinity of onions, carrot and celery in the butter and oil. The aim is to gently saute, and not brown the soffritto and then add the garlic and anchovies and saute for a couple more minutes.
Once you’ve sautéed the veggies you pop the mixture into a large baking dish then add a little more oil into the frypan and fry the veal pieces till browned on both sides.
Remove the browned veal pieces and place on top of the sofritto.
Deglaze the frypan with the wine, scraping up any bits of caramelization. Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, lemon rind, thyme and seasonings. Give it all a good mix and pour it over the Osso Buco, covering with baking paper and foil.
The oven takes over the cooking for the next couple of hours or so, and you are then about to eat one of the tastiest dishes of all time.
If you’ve never added a sprinkling of fresh Gremolata onto braises or casseroles before, prepare yourself for this zesty Italian herb condiment. The combination of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic is fantastic on any meats or fish and we especially love the combination of Osso Buco with Gremolata.
The sharpness of raw garlic paired with lemon zest’s slight bitterness tossed through a good amount of freshly chopped parsley makes gremolata a perfect topping for cutting through the heaviness of meats and stews.
Gremolata really finishes the Osso Buco dish off and absolutely boosts the flavour department. Do yourself a flavour favour and sprinkle onto your next casserole, or grilled fish for a real boost of flavour.
prepare your Osso Buco with Gremolata ahead
Osso Buco can be prepared a couple of days ahead of cooking. Just brown off your meat and prepare the sauce, cover with baking paper and foil then refrigerate, and bake when you’re ready. Too easy!
We love the fact that there always seems to be leftover sauce when making Osso Buco as it’s absolutely delicious. Try serving it onto some pasta, or served on toasted sourdough with a poached egg. Remember to accentuate the flavours by making some Gremolata to really lift the leftover sauce.
Watch How To Make Osso Buco with Gremolata
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Have you ever made a Gremolata for your Osso Buco? We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make Osso Buco with Gremolata.Print
Osso Buco is an absolute classic Italian braised veal shanks with a rich tomato sauce served with risotto or mashed potatoes. Topped with a fresh parsley Gremolata it is truly an outstanding recipe.
- 8 pieces of veal or beef shanks – see notes above
- plain (all purpose) flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper, to dust veal
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 6 anchovy fillets, roughy chopped
- 6 fat cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 500ml (1 pint) beef stock (we used 2 oxo beef cubes)
- 2 x 400g (2 x 14 ounce) tins of diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly milled black pepper to taste
- 3 strips of lemon rind (to be added to sauce half way through cooking time)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
- heat butter and oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat
- add onion, carrot celery, and sauté for a few minutes
add garlic and anchovy and continue to sauté for a further 2-3 minutes (we’re not looking to brown the vegetables, only to soften them)
- place flour, salt and pepper into a plastic bag and lightly flour the veal pieces
- transfer onion, carrot and celery mix to a large baking dish
- using the same frypan add a little more oil and brown veal on both sides (you will probably have to do this in two batches)
- put browned veal pieces on top of the soffritto in the baking tin
- preheat oven to 175c (345f)
- add the wine, stock, thyme, tomato paste, lemon rind, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper to pan
- stir to release the caramelised bits on the base of the pan
- pour the wine sauce from the frying pan over the meat and vegetables
- cover with baking paper, then tightly cover with foil
- bake on middle shelf for 1 1/2 hours
- remove pan from oven and turn veal pieces over, recover with baking paper and foil
- return to oven for about an hour or until the veal is fork tender
- serve on risotto or mashed potatoes with gremolata sprinkled on top
- mix all ingredients together