The name, Ossobuco, means “bone with hole” in Italian, and the origins of the dish are from Milan.
Upon researching a bit more about the dish origins’, I’ve learned that the older version was made with white wine only, and without tomatoes, which most of the versions known these days contain.
I can see why the original recipe used white wine – it suits the delicate veal meat much better than red wine. Yet, with the addition of tomatoes, I find that red wine goes better with the sauce than the original white wine. However, it’s totally up to you and you can switch it back to the more traditional version of using white wine.
Another change I’ve made to the traditional recipe was to add orange juice, zest and orange blossom honey to the sauce. I find it mellows the sauce, enhances the aroma and gives the sauce a nice finish.
To enhance the orange flavor even more, I also added orange zest to the Gremolata, which traditionally is made with lemon zest only.
The last minute addition of fresh bold flavors of the Gremolata to the stew is such a brilliant idea! I highly recommend not skipping this step.
The Gremolata is also wonderful on any other stews, roasted chicken, fried fish or seafood dishes.
Ossobuco is traditionally served with risotto, but is also great with polenta, gnocchi or with plain pasta.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 2 ½ hours
Chilling time (optional): overnight
For the Citrus Gremolata
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped orange zest
¼ cup chopped lemon zest
2 chopped garlic cloves
For the meat:
¼ cup oil
4-5 large veal ossobuco cut (cross cut shanks), 5 cm thick
½ cup flour mixed with a bit of salt and freshly ground 4 pepper mix
For the sauce:
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
½ cup diced celery
1 medium carrot, diced
3-4 Bay leaves
Strips of orange peel, from ½ large orange
1 Tbs Salt
¼ tsp freshly ground 4 pepper mix
2 cups good quality crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs tomato paste
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine (preferably Barolo)
1 Tbs orange blossom honey
1. The Gremolata: mix the chopped parsley, lemon and orange zest and garlic.
2. The meat: heat the oil in a large pot. Coat the meat with the flour mix and fry gently on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep in a warm plate.
3. The sauce: heat the olive oil in a large shallow pot. Add the onion, shallot and garlic. Mix and fry for 1-2 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the celery, carrots, bay leaves, orange strips, salt and pepper. Mix and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the crushed tomatoes, orange juice, beef stock, red wine and honey. Mix well, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add the meat, in one layer, with the narrower part of the bone facing the bottom. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 200F (95C). Transfer the covered pot to the oven and braise for 2 hours. Uncover the pot and braise for 30 minutes longer, until the meat almost falls off the bones and the sauce thickens and caramelizes on top.
7. At this point you can serve the dish, with the Gremolata on top.
Another option is to let the dish cool and keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat gently and serve with the Gremolata.
For a leaner version, remove the fat from the top before reheating.