Braised Veal Shanks (Osso Buco)
This hearty winter dish starts with veal shanks, round pieces of meat about 2 inches thick with a large bone in the center. The shanks are braised for several hours to make them extremely tender. Serve the shanks and their sauce with mashed potatoes or risotto.
Many Italians consider the marrow — the gelatinous material inside the bone — to be a delicacy. If you like, give each person a small cocktail fork or demitasse spoon so that they can pull out the cooked marrow when they have eaten all the meat off the bone.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or 2 teaspoons dried sage
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 meaty veal shanks, each about 2 inches thick
1 cup flour
2⁄3 cup olive oil
1-1⁄2 cups white wine, divided
2 medium red onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups water or chicken stock
3 cups canned plum tomatoes, crushed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix together the rosemary, sage, garlic, and salt and pepper.
Cut 2 to 3 slits in the top of each veal shank and stuff them with the herb/garlic mixture.
Season the shanks with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour. Shake off any excess.
In a medium, ovenproof saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat.
Add the shanks, browning them well on all sides. Drain and discard any oil remaining in the saucepan. Then add 1 cup wine, stirring to dissolve any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add the onions, carrots, and celery.
Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, and then add the remaining 1⁄2 cup wine. Boil the wine for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the water and tomatoes.
Stir well, bring to a simmer, cover, and then transfer to the oven.
Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fork tender. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve.