I love making Osso Buco it is one of my husband’s favorite dishes and the way I make it it is not expensive! Osso Buco usually calls for veal shanks which are pricey; however, I use beef shanks which are much cheaper. As you probably know veal is baby cow and many people stay away from it for either ethical or financial reasons. The reasons people pay so much for veal is that the meat is super soft because the animal did not get to form muscle; however, Osso Buco is a long simmered dish so the beef becomes fall apart tender anyway.
I adapted this recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian.
1. Here I took two large beef shanks (a bit over 2 lbs combined) and dried them off and put salt and pepper on both sides. I then patted some all purpose flour on both sides.
2. Heat up your olive oil in a non non-stick pan. You want the meat to form a crust on the bottom for flavor (fancy people call this “fond”) so you want it to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan. I shook off the excess flour before placing it in the oil and made sure the meat got very dark.
3. Remove the meat from the pan and add your veggies: 1 medium carrot, half of a large white onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 stalk of celery and later 1 tomato.
4. Make sure you scrape off all the burnt bits like so
5. Let the vegetables soften for about 5 minutes and then add about a cup of red wine and put it on med-high to reduce it by half.
6. Then add 3 cups of stock and the tomatoes. I used mushroom stock because that is what I had but any type should work except like a seafood stock. That would be gross. I then added back the meat and made sure to pour in the accumulated juices.
7. Then cover it and let it cook for about 3 hours on a low simmer. After its tender take off the cover and bring the heat to medium and reduce the sauce by half. After its reduced you can add salt and pepper to taste.
8.Because of the breakdown of the fat and connective tissue the beef and sauce will be very fatty so its nice to serve it with gremolata to cut the fat a bit.
All you need is about 1/2 a cup of chopped parsley, 4 cloves of garlic and the zest of one lemon. Here I actually used half parsley and half cilantro because I like cilantro but this is not traditional.
9. Most people serve it with risotto but here I made it with saffron rice. First pound up a large pinch of saffron (or as much as you can afford) with about 1-2 tsp kosher salt depending on how salty you like your rice. Pounding it with coarse salt helps break up the saffron.
10. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to your saucepan, 1 cup of basmati rice, the saffron salt, and 1 3/4 cups of water. Let it come to a simmer, stir, and cook on low for 25 min. Saffron makes such a pretty yellow color.
11. After 25 min add a 1/2 of tablespoon of butter and fluff with a fork.