Osso Buco is the classic Milanese dish of beef shanks braised in vegetables, wine, and beef stock. “Osso Buco” is Italian for “bone with a hole,” which refers to the cross-cut bone with marrow in the center. Normally, Osso Buco is cut into pieces about 1 to 1.5 inches thick. But we prefer large cuts of beef. So — with some inspiration from Pat LaFrieda’s book (“Meat: Everything You Need to Know” available on Amazon) — we cut the entire shank into one very large Osso Buco, to be cooked and served family style. Here’s how we suggest doing it.
First, unless you have a very large Dutch oven or very big slow cooker, you will need a disposable aluminum turkey roasting pan. Buy two of them, and I’ll explain why in a moment. You’ll also need some butcher’s twine to make sure that the meat doesn’t fall off the bone while it’s cooking. If you cannot find butcher’s twine, then a non-synthetic cotton string can serve the purpose.
Place several sprigs of Rosemary on the shank and tie tightly with butcher’s twine in several places. (Save several sprigs of Rosemary to use later in the recipe). Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy pan on medium-high heat until it’s almost smoking. Cover the shank with a generous amount of Salt and fresh Black Pepper, then brown the shank in the pan.
Remove the shank and add 2 Onions that are cut into large chunks, 3 Carrots cut into cubes, and 4 to 5 coarsely chopped cloves of Garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes until Onions start to turn translucent. Add 3 Celery stalks cut into 1-inch pieces and cook another couple of minutes.
Stir in 2 Bay Leaves (Laurel), a bundle of Rosemary and fresh Thyme tied with butcher’s twine, and a small handful of Orange Peel that’s cut into thin strips. Add one cup of White Wine and stir until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in one small can of Tomato Paste (about 1/4 cup) and stir another few minutes to thicken. Remove from heat.
Lay the whole-shank Osso Buco on its side in one of the aluminum turkey roasting trays. Add the cooked vegetables. Use a small amount of white wine to loosen any vegetable sauce that is stuck to the bottom of the pan and transfer to the roasting tray.
Bend the sides of the aluminum turkey roasting tray to more closely fit the shape of the Osso Buco, and then place inside the second roasting tray. Add Chicken or Beef Stock to the Osso Buco until it just covers the top of the Osso Buco, or as much as the inner tray can hold. (If you first bring the stock almost to a boil, then it will reduce your cooking time by an hour.) If you use pre-packaged liquid stock, then you might want to add 1 or 2 cubes of dry stock for additional flavor.
Cover tightly with several layers of aluminum foil, and cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the broth to a pan and boil until it reduces to a consistency of a thin gravy. Let it cool about 5 minutes and then stir in 1 cup of chopped fresh Parsley.
To serve, place the Osso Buco upright on a platter. Surround with Linguini Pasta or Rice. Pour the gravy over the Osso Buco and sprinkle with more strips of Orange Zest. Sprinkle a handful of Green Peas over the pasta or rice. (Use Green Peas that come frozen in a bag instead of in a can). Carefully cut and remove the butcher’s twine from the meat, and serve.
- 2 to 3 kg of Whole-shank Osso Buco
- 7 to 8 sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
- Coarse salt
- Fresh ground Black Pepper
- Several sprigs of Fresh Thyme
- 2 Bay Leaves (Laurel)
- 1 Orange
- 2 Onions
- 3 Carrots
- 4 to 6 cloves of fresh Garlic
- 3 stalks of fresh Celery
- 1 cup of White Wine
- 1 small can of Tomato Paste (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 to 3 quarts of Chicken or Beef Stock
- 1 handful of chopped fresh Parsely
- 1 cup of Green Peas (from a frozen bag; not can)
- Linguini Pasta or Rice