Osso Buco, an iconic Italian dish, has graced tables around the world with its hearty and rich flavors. The name, translating to “bone with a hole” in Italian, refers to the marrow-filled cross-cut bone that gives this dish its distinctive character. It’s a comforting and satisfying meal that has deep roots in Italian culinary tradition, specifically hailing from Milan.
The origins of Osso Buco can be traced back to the 19th century in Milan, Italy. Initially, it was considered a humble dish, often made with veal shanks. Over time, it gained popularity and evolved into the beloved recipe we know today. The use of veal shanks remains a traditional choice, but modern variations might include beef or even pork shanks. This dish epitomizes the Italian passion for using simple ingredients to create exquisite flavors.
1. Prepare the Veal Shanks
- Start by tying kitchen twine around each veal shank to prevent them from falling apart during cooking. This step ensures your Osso Buco will have a beautiful presentation.
2. Dredge and Sear the Veal Shanks
- In a plate, season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge each veal shank in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
- In the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, carefully place the veal shanks in the pot and sear them until they’re golden brown on all sides. This should take about 5-7 minutes per side. Transfer the browned shanks to a plate and set them aside.
3. Sauté the Aromatics
- In the same pot, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and minced garlic. Sauté them until they become fragrant and start to soften, approximately 5 minutes.
4. Deglaze and Simmer
- Pour in the dry white wine to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Let it simmer for a few minutes until it reduces slightly.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken or beef broth, bay leaf, dried thyme, and dried rosemary. Stir well to combine.
5. Return the Veal Shanks
- Place the seared veal shanks back into the pot, nestling them into the sauce.
6. Braise the Osso Buco
- Cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat to low. Allow the Osso Buco to simmer gently for about 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the meat becomes tender and easily falls off the bone. Remember to check occasionally and add more broth if needed to maintain the desired level of moisture.
7. Prepare the Gremolata
- While the Osso Buco is simmering, mix the lemon zest, minced garlic, and finely chopped fresh parsley in a small bowl. This gremolata will add a burst of freshness to the dish right before serving.
8. Serve Osso Buco
- Once the veal is tender and the sauce has thickened, remove the bay leaf. Place each Osso Buco on a warm plate. Spoon the flavorful sauce over the top, and garnish generously with the gremolata.
Enjoying Osso Buco
Traditionally, Osso Buco is served with a side of saffron risotto, polenta, or mashed potatoes to soak up the rich sauce. Pair it with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, and you have a meal fit for any occasion. The marrow in the bone adds a luscious, buttery texture to the dish, making it a true delicacy.
In the world of Italian cuisine, Osso Buco remains a shining example of culinary excellence. Its humble beginnings and enduring popularity showcase the power of simplicity and tradition in creating memorable dishes. So, gather your ingredients, follow the steps closely, and savor the timeless flavors of this classic Milanese masterpiece. Buon appetito!