Have a birthday, anniversary, dinner party or another special occasion? Make this ossobuco recipe. Your guests will thank you.
“Ossobuco” is the Italian word literally meaning bone hole. But what it implies is a dish that is made from the lateral cut of veal or beef shank. (I’ve had them at restaurants made from pork shanks as well, but veal or beef shanks are traditional. Just ask your butcher for which type you prefer). And the word umido means “wet.” In this case, the braising liquid, which will become the sauce. One traditional way to prepare them is to braise them in a tomato, carrot, onion, and celery sauce. This is home cooking flavors, good enough for company at its best. The process is easy as finely dicing a few vegetables, browning meat, and then letting the simmering do the rest.
As an added treat, during the cooking process, the hole in the bone of the ossobucchi (the plural version of ossobuco) will soften the marrow. The marrow, although not the prettiest, is delectable and rich served on toasted bread.
Suggestion: Serve with Polenta, mashed potatoes, or sweet potatoes (like in the photo, above).
Arliano Update (Aggiornamento Arliano):
Most of the holes and tracks cut for plumbing and electric needs have now been filled in with cement and sanded smooth. It seems odd to me that you would cover such tubes in cement, necessitating digging up floors if there is ever a problem, but that’s the way they do it. The workers have also started placing the insulation on the roof, which will shortly be followed by solar panels.
In garden news, we have erected the tomato fences (supports for when the vines grow tall) and have started laying out the drip irrigation system. Let’s hope that the plastic and rubber irrigation parts last for years so they eventually pay for themselves. Otherwise, I might start hearing, “But it’s cheaper to just buy vegetables than grow them.” Ugh! That misses the point, wouldn’t you agree?
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Ossobuco in Umido (braised veal or beef shanks with sauce)
- 4 Ossobuchi (plural for ossobuco, which are veal or beef shanks cut about 3/4 inch thick)
- 1 large onion (any color), diced very finely
- 3 stalks/ribs of celery, diced very finely
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced very finely
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 small stem of fresh rosemary, finely minced
- 1 small can (15 ounces, or 400 g) diced tomatoes in their own juices
- 2 – 3 cups (16 – 24 ounces) beef broth or stock
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- About 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (enough to coat each ossobuco)
- Clean and finely dice the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and rosemary (alternatively, you could blitz the onion, carrots and celery in a food processor, if you have one). Set them aside
- With kitchen shears, make small cuts along the edges of each ossobuco (veal or beef shank) where you see a thick ribbon of fat. This will prevent the meat from curling up while cooking
- Bring a very large saucepan to medium-high heat with the olive oil
- While the saucepan is heating, place the flour in a large flat bowl or dish. Lightly flour each shank on both sides and shake off the excess. Brown each side of the shank in the hot pan (about 2 minutes each side). Work in batches if your pan is not wide enough to hold them all at once. Place the browned shanks on a plate to rest
- Pour the white wine into the hot pan to deglaze it, gently scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add the finely diced onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes or until all the vegetables have softened. Periodically stir the vegetables and if they are sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a little olive oil. When the vegetables are soft, add the minced garlic and rosemary and cook for one minute
- Add the can of diced tomatoes to the pan and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes so all the flavors meld together
- While the tomatoes are integrating with the vegetables, heat the broth in a separate pan or microwave
- Put the ossobuchi (shanks) back in the pan including any juices. It is ok if they overlap a bit. Pour two cups of beef broth over the shanks. The liquid should just cover them. If not, add another cup of broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then lower the heat until the liquid just simmers and cover the pan with a lid. Periodically check the liquid level and turn the meat over halfway through the cooking time, 60 – 80 minutes
- Transfer the ossobuchi to a plate and cover them tightly with aluminum foil. In the meantime, turn the heat to high and stirring frequently, reduce the liquid until it thickens to a sauce
- Serve the ossobuchi with the sauce ladled over them