Decadently Delicious Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco

Credit: Alpha

The words Italian “osso bucco” literally mean “a bone with a hole”, referring to the hole in the middle of the beef or veal shank, the main ingredient of this rich dish. It is one of the most popular Italian dishes, and it is one that is possible as well loved as the French beef bourguignon.

In Kahakai Kitchen’s Easy Osso Bucco, celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis says, Osso buco is braised veal shanks. The fabulously flavorful veal shanks are cooked for a long time, making the meat so tender that it literally falls off the bones. I’m not sure why, but I think people are afraid of this dish; maybe they’re intimidated by the unfamiliarity of veal shanks. But it’s really easy to prepare and just needs a couple of hours to cook, while the fragrant aromas fill your house and maybe even tempt the neighbors to ring the doorbell to find out what’s cooking. The perfect dish for a rainy Sunday…”

A Slice of Gastronomic Heaven

Dining on osso bucco means you are in for a truly flavorful treat. The dish starts with veal shank cut across in three-inch slices that are dredged in flour then browned in olive oil. The meat is braised in wine and a broth made from beef and vegetables. The most popular version of this dish is tomato based, and for most cooks, white wine is a must when cooking osso bucco.

Osso bucco can be prepared simply like a stew, needing only the right ingredients and patience to take a heary feast from stove to table. It can also be prepared as a gourmet dish.

This is an experience that celebrity chef Mario Batali shares in Real Moms Real Dinners’ It’s What’s Cookin’, where he says, Ok, so this one is not going to be one of my typical recipe’s that I’ll post because A) it was time consuming and semi difficult B) it was a more expensive gourmet dish to make… not your every day wed night dinner C) you need a Cast Iron Dutch oven to make it and D) It made a MESS out of my kitchen!! Ok, maybe that was the cook, but still…

“This was too yummy to not post…”

Batali’s gourmet version requires the use of a good Dutch oven, extra-virgin olive oil, a carrot, a small Spanish onion, a rib of celery, some thyme, two cups of basic tomato sauce, 2 cups of chicken stock, and 2 cups of dry white wine.

He browns the veal in extra-virgin olive oil, sets them aside, and proceeds to brown his vegetables. Then, he adds the liquids and the veal, making sure the shanks are covered at least halfway. The Dutch oven is tightly covered, and everything gets to cook together in an oven preheated to 375. Oven time is approximately 2 ½ hours – or whatever it takes for the meat to be fall-off-the-bone tender.

The Gremolata

Possibly, the added flavor of the gremolata makes the osso bucco even more special. Gremolata or gremolada is a traditional accompaniment to this sumptuous dish; it is made from parsley, grated lemon zest, and garlic processed into a rough paste. Some cooks will add pine nuts to this mixture for an extra creamy taste. It is sprinkled on top of the osso bucco right before it is served.

Serving Osso Bucco with Wine and Accompaniments

Osso bucco can be served with a wide variety of accompaniments. Traditionally, osso bucco comes with risotto alla Milanesa, but Mario Batali likes to serve it with angel hair pasta, and Giada de Laurentiis likes to serve it with potatoes mashed in olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

To complete the meal in true gourmet fachion, serve osso bucco with a glass of Amarone or cabernet or sangiovese.  If you prefer, a bottle of tempranillo, Malbec, zinfandel, merlot, malbec, or syrah would be just as appropriate.

Sit back, enjoy your osso bucco, and savor the delights of a truly Italian masterpiece!

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