Festa Italiana: Osso Buco

logo-festa-italianaI love all kinds of Italian food, and I’ve been wanting to try osso buco, aka Italian Braised Veal Shanks, for ages, so this blog event, hosted by Marie of Proud Italian Cook and Maryann of Finding la Dolce Vita, seemed like the perfect time to make it.

This is one of those long, slow-cooking dishes that I like to make on Sunday afternoons, when I have a lot of time for cooking dinner, and especially when it’s cold outside. Braised dishes are so satisfying on days like that, and this one was no exception.

Dan gave me a copy of “The Best International Recipe,” a cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, for Christmas in 2007, so I made their recipe. OMG, it was so good – absolutely delicious. I made the classic saffron risotto to go alongside it and served it with a green salad and some crusty bread to sop up the juices. I hope everyone at the Festa Italiana enjoys it as much as we did!

osso-buco-saffron-risotto

Osso Buco

Veal Shanks
6 1-1/2-inch thick veal shanks (8-10 oz. each), tied around teh middle with butcher’s twine (so they don’t fall apart during cooking)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups dry white wine
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves

Gremolata (topping)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tsp. minced lemon zest
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Place an oven rack in the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown half of the shanks on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, reducing the heat if the pan begins to scorch; transfer to a bowl and set aside. Off the heat, add 1/2 cup of the wine to the Dutch oven, scraping up the browned bits, then pour into the bowl with the browned shanks. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more tbsp. oil and the remaining shanks. Add another 1/2 cup wine and transfer to the bowl.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil to the pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1-1/2 cups wine, broth, tomatoes and bay leaves. Add the browned shanks with any accumulated juices, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is easily pierced with a fork, but not falling off the bone, about 2 hours.

To make the gremolata, stir together the garlic, lemon zest and parsley in a small bowl.

When the shanks are cooked, remove the pot from the oven and the bay leaves from the pot; stir in half of the gremolata. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove the shanks from the pot, cut off the twine and place the shanks in six individual serving bowls. Ladle some braising liquid over each shank and sprinkle with the remaining gremolata. Serve.

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