Classic recipe for veal osso buco, cooked low and slow until incredibly fall off the bone tender. Serve the osso buco with a sprinkle of fresh herb gremolata on top and alongside creamy polenta.
A Little About Osso Buco
Osso buco is a rustic Italian stew that literally translates to "bone with a hole", as in the shank. The traditional meat served for osso buco is veal, which is very tender and full of flavor.
Also called osso buco Milanese, the veal shanks are seared until deeply caramelized and then braise in a robust red wine and vegetable stew until incredibly tender. The final touch is a bright and zesty parsley gremolata that perks up the rich flavors of the veal stew.
And you better get inside that bone and get every piece of the bone marrow out. Spread the marrow on a toasted baguette with a sprinkle of sea salt and bask in the glory. The glorious thing about Italian food and culture, is that they don't waste anything. All parts of the animal are used or eaten, so enjoy the marrow and don't let it go to waste.
📋 Osso Buco Ingredients
- Veal Shanks: These may be harder to find then other cuts of meat, but if you can find veal shanks, have a few pounds! Look for shanks that are at least ¾ in thick.
- Red Wine: Some osso buco recipes call for white wine, which you can use but I love the deep flavor that the red wine offers in this braise. Use a dry white wine such as Cabernet or Pinot Noir.
- Vegetables: Onion, carrots and celery are often known as "the holy trinity" and is often the base of hearty braises. And right before placing in the oven, button mushrooms are scattered around and make a fantastic sponge that soaks up the delicious sauce.
- Tomato Paste: One of my favorite ingredients, I'll always add a good squeeze of tomato paste in other slow cooked brisket recipes and after searing Italian beef braciole. The tomato paste gives the braise a touch of sweetness without being overpowering.
- Assorted Herbs: Rosemary, thyme and bay leaves steep in the wine broth as the osso buco roasts. You can also add fresh oregano and chives to the herb bundle.
- Beef Stock: I love using a condensed beef stock that can be whisked with some water to create a flavorful broth. Instead of beef stock, chicken stock would also work.
🌿 Gremolata Ingredients
Parsley gremolata only uses 3 ingredients and is full of fresh, bright flavor! Make a batch to sprinkle it on top of just about anything!
- Parsley: Italian flat leaf parsley is mild and tender and easy to chop up for gremolata. You can also add other herbs such as cilantro or fresh mint.
- Lemon: Use a microplane to zest the outer layer of the lemon and add that right to the chopped parsley. Other citrus would be delicious as well such as grapefruit or orange.
- Garlic: Grate a garlic clove with the microplane so there are no large pieces.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
🍋 Substitutions and Variations
- Veal shanks can be difficult to find and a good substitute is beef shanks or pork shanks that are of the same size and weight.
- Instead of red wine, use white wine for a lighter wine sauce.
- For the gremolata, you can substitute fresh mint for the parsley and for added crunch, add chopped pistachios.
🥩 How to Make Veal Osso Buco
Step 1. Season the veal shanks with salt and pepper and dredge in flour on all sides.
Step 2. Drizzle a wide Dutch oven with olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the veal shanks on all sides until deeply caramelized.
Step 3. Once the veal shanks are seared, remove them from the Dutch oven and set aside while you sauté the vegetables.
Step 4. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes to soften.
Step 5. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and sauté for another minute with the vegetables.
Step 6. Pour the red wine in and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping off the meaty bits from the bottom. Let the wine reduce until slightly thickened.
Step 7. Place the veal shanks back in the Dutch oven and pour in the beef stock.
Step 8. Scatter the mushrooms around the veal shanks and nestle in the herb bundle and bay leaf.
Step 9. Cover the veal osso buco with a tight fitting lid and place in the center of the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
🍋 How to Make Gremolata
Gremolata is a bright and fresh topping for Osso Buco or any beef stew.
Gremolata combines freshly chopped herbs, such as flat leaf parsley, grated garlic and lemon zest. Sprinkle a good amount on top of the stew. The fresh garnish wakes up all the warm flavors of the veal Milanese after a long braise.
Step 1. To a cutting board, add flat leaf parsley, lemon zest and grated garlic.
Step 2. Give the mixture a good chop so all of the gremolata ingredients combine and become fragrant.
📍 Recipe Tips
- Osso buco can be made in either slow cooker, Dutch oven or seared and placed in a baking dish to braise.
- Before seasoning, use paper towels to dry the shanks can get a good sear.
- If your veal shanks are larger, they may need an extra 15-20 minutes of cooking. Test with a fork and if the fork inserts easily, it's tender.
Serve osso buco with gremolata and on top of creamy polenta.
🍽️ What to Serve with Osso Buco
Osso buco comes from the shank of a young cow. The meat has connective tissue with a bone in the center and as the meat slowly cooks, becomes very tender.
Osso buco is not an expensive cut but can be difficult to find.
Yes, osso buco can most certainly be made ahead and in fact, tastes better the next day. Make the osso buco up to 3 days in advance and reheat slowly to warm through.
More Classic Italian Dishes
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Osso Buco with Gremolata
Veal Osso Buco
- 2 ½ -3 pounds veal shanks
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground black pepper
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2-3 tablespoons Olive oil for drizzling
- ½ red or yellow onion diced
- 2 celery stalks cut into ½ inch slices
- 2 medium sized carrots peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary tied in a bundle with the thyme
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme tied in a bundle with the rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups beef stock low sodium, preferably
- 1 pint mushrooms button or cremini, quartered
- ¾ cup fresh parsley leaves finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest from about 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and season the veal shanks with salt and pepper and dredge in flour on all sides.
- Bring a wide Dutch oven to medium-high heat on the stove and drizzle with olive oil. Sear the veal shanks on all sides until caramelized and browned. It does not have be to cooked all the way, just seared on the outside. When done, reserve the veal shanks on a plate and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes to soften. Add the tomato paste and saute for another 1-2 minutes until deepened in color.
- Pour in red wine and deglaze the pan. Use a sturdy spatula and scrape off the meaty bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce for a few minutes until it gets slightly thicker.
- Place the veal shanks back in the Dutch with the vegetables oven and pour in the beef stock. Scatter the mushrooms around the shanks and nestle in the herbs and bay leaves.
- Cover the Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid and place in the center of the oven roast for 1 ½ -2 hours until the veal is fork tender and liquid has reduced. Once done, remove from the oven and serve with creamy polenta and top with herb gremolata.
- To make gremolata, finely chop parsley leaves on a cutting board and set aside.Use a microplane or small grated to grate lemon zest and a clove of fresh garlic. Give everything a good chop together and stir to combine.
- Make osso buco in the slow cooker. After the veal shanks are seared, add to a slow cooker with the vegetables, herbs and liquid and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours until veal is fork tender.
- Polenta recipe includes Parmesan cheese, if you are keeping kosher, please omit that ingredient and substitute heavy cream for soy (or other non-dairy) milk.
- Before seasoning, use paper towels to dry the shanks can get a good sear.