Osso Buco for Valentine’s (or any other special) Day
This wonderful comfort dish is great for a special occasion. Serve over creamy polenta, cooked orzo or Risotto Milanese. The topping of gremolata helps to cut the richness of this special dish.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:2 hours, 15 minutes
Total Time:2 hours 45 minutes
2 4-inch diameter cross-cut veal shanks; tied
Flour for dredging the veal shanks (about a cup)
Extra-virgin olive oil for searing the veal shanks and sautéing the vegetables (about a quarter cup)
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and skin removed
1 entire bottle of inexpensive (Italian) red wine
1 x 6-ounce can of Italian tomato paste
1 small bunch parsley (20 sprigs)
5–10 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 orange or lemon
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
Dry off the veal shanks completely with paper towels. Place a cup or so of flour on a large plate. Dredge the tied veal shank in the flour and coat completely. Set aside.
In a heavy-bottom dutch oven over medium heat, add a thin layer of olive oil and heat till shimmering.
Brown all sides of the veal shanks well in the olive oil. Stand the shanks on the edges to brown them as well. Remove to a plate.
Add more olive oil if needed to sauté the vegetables. Add the diced carrots, celery, onion and smashed garlic cloves along with a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium-low heat until the vegetables are soft.
Add the entire bottle of red wine to the pot and bring to boil. Add half the tomato paste to the pot and stir till dissolved. Carefully (it’s hot) taste the wine-tomato paste mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the 2 shanks to the hot wine sauce. Add enough water to cover completely.
With butcher’s twine, make a bundle of about 10 parsley sprigs and the thyme and add to the pot. Also, add the bay leaves. Make sure they are submerged.
Place in the oven for 2 hours to braise.
While the veal braises, make the gremolata. Zest an entire lemon or orange into a small bowl. Add 1/2 tbsp of prepared horseradish. Finely chop the leaves of about 10 parsley sprigs and add to the bowl. Add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper; stir together thoroughly. Place bowl in the refrigerator until the veal is done.
When the veal has braised for 2 hours, open the oven and put the lid slightly ajar (be careful–it’s HOT). This will allow the sauce to thicken. Braise for 15 minutes more.
Remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. The veal should be falling-off-the-bone tender and nicely caramelized.
Prepare the plates with a good portion of the creamy polenta, cooked orzo or risotto in the center. Transfer one veal shank to each plate. With kitchen shears, carefully snip off and remove the butcher’s twine (it may have fallen off into the pot).
Spoon with some additional sauce from the pot. Top each shank with a generous pinch of the gremolata and serve!