osso buco my way

April 10th, 2008 · 38 Comments


another first for me. i had bought the shank on a whim and promptly put it in my freezer. so now, about a month later and before it got too warm to dine on braised meat in a rich sauce, i decided to try my hand at the classic dish, osso buco.and then i looked in nearly every book i own, and then online – and after some serious consideration, decided to go with a more non-traditional take on the dish. no mirepoix for me, no tomato, no gremolata. instead, based on what i’d read and after poking around my pantry and fridge, i devised what i believe to be an ‘original plan’ for my shank.

but first i googled ‘anchovies and pancetta’ to see if they’d ever been known to co-mingle in a bonafide recipe. and sure enough, marcella hazan in her book ‘marcella says’, does a pot roast called ‘arrosto di manzo alla novarese’ – beefy chuck roast, stovetop-braised in the style of novara in piemonte, using both anchovies and pancetta (along with mustard and vinegar). and dear readers, that was all i needed to know…i served the osso buco with a polenta barely tinged with some parmigiano, alongside some french beans quickly sauteed in olive oil and garlic. but as good as the veal was – and it was really so very good, the marrow was just otherworldly. scooped out with my tiny espresso spoons onto some ciabatta… the pinnacle of umami.

osso buco alla ceF

4 veal shank sliced in 2 – 3 inch pieces
2 – 3 T olive oil
flour for dredging
salt and pepper
3 ounces pancetta – finely chopped
5 or 6 anchovies – finely chopped

3 cloves minced garlic
white wine – 1 1/2 cup
veal or chicken stock – about 2 cups

lightly flour the shank pieces and then salt and pepper
brown the shanks well on both sides in the olive oil remove to a plate and set aside
add the pancetta to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on low to medium heat
add the anchovies for about another 3 minutes and then the garlic for another 2
deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce it down almost all the way
add back the veal and cover the meat halfway with the stock
cover the pan and simmer for 90 minutes remove the shanks carefully.

i didn’t tie mine and they held together just fine. strain the liquid that’s left in the pan (i saved the pancetta pieces for a pizza later in the week) and then return strained liquid – i had about 2/3 cup, to the pan and then add about 2 or 3 T butter to make a sauce.

taste, adjust, serve.

oh, and fresh blackberries with melted pralus madagascar chocolate for dessert. eaten with our fingers, without a care in the world…

Tags: veal

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 evil chef mom // Apr 10, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    mmmm….osso bucco

    *sounding like homer simpson while wiping the drool of my keyboard.

  • 2 Robert // Apr 10, 2008 at 9:13 pm


    Very nice. This would make a believer out of the most ardent Lamb skeptic. I am inspired.

  • 3 Mary Coleman // Apr 10, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Obviously, I wasn’t reachable when you sent out the invitations. This looks wonderful. And you said you were clueless. Whatever!!!

  • 4 countrymouse // Apr 10, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Wow. Even I would entertain eating anchovies to try this dish! I’m still not going to eat anything else before going to bed. Not even blackberries and cho…um, wait

  • 5 claudia // Apr 10, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    evil mom – ez to make. go do it! you will have extra love and recognition from others.

    robert – except it’s errr, veal. and it’s harder to win over the non veal eating public…

    mary – clueless to begin with, but i catch on quickly!

    countrymouse – you would never know in eleventy million years that this has anchovies… it just adds a dimension of flavor. truly.

  • 6 giz // Apr 11, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Thanx for coming by the blog … lol on the heart attack on a plate – absolutely!!!
    Osso Bucco – one of my favorites and the dogs go crazy for the shank bones. I’m in a large Italian area and you can smell it when someone is cooking it around these parts

  • 7 Robert // Apr 11, 2008 at 6:13 am

    OHHH braised Beef, why didnt you say so. Although the ‘V’ word appears many times in succesion, somehow the visual still screamed Lamb, and it looked mighty good. After 90 minutes in that anchovy sauce, im sure a hunk of anything would be divine………..

  • 8 lucy // Apr 11, 2008 at 6:58 am

    it certainly is tough to win over the “non veal eating public.” however the polenta and beans look tasty 😀

  • 9 Lesley // Apr 11, 2008 at 7:13 am

    How timely– osso buco was on the dinner party menu on “The Office” last night. For some reason–likely the “os” part–I thought it was an ostrich dish, not veal. Obviously, I’m not well-versed in cuts of meat.

    If you didn’t see the show, you should check it out online. At least see the part where Michael dips his meat in his wine because he has “soft teeth.”

  • 10 Donald // Apr 11, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I am won over with that dish! The sauce looks and sounds fantastic.

    Now, if there are leftovers, I claim them. 75 – 24 here I come! :-)

  • 11 amy @ minimally invasive // Apr 11, 2008 at 8:01 am

    If the spring weather takes a turn for the worse (and god, I hope it doesn’t), I have a couple of venison shanks in the freezer that would love to bask in pancetta and anchovies. Sounds delicious!

  • 12 mari // Apr 11, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Drooling on my keyboard, and wishing I was having this for dinner tonite!

  • 13 Mal Carne // Apr 11, 2008 at 9:26 am

    I’ve been staring at that pic for 15 minutes, I think I’m starting to taste it. Veal; god how I miss it. The wife doesn’t eat babies -therefore, neither do I

  • 14 ntsc // Apr 11, 2008 at 9:35 am

    When and where I was growing up veal was seasonal but very cheap and I’ve never developed an aversion.

    I think my wife did veal piccata for the first dinner she cooked for me and as I recall I did a Coq au Vin.

    We are going out to Pennsylvania tomorrow to buy two pork bellies because the pancetta I made in Jan is runing out.

  • 15 naomi // Apr 11, 2008 at 10:19 am


    Looks amazing – you can almost taste the savouriness by looking hard enough. I’m not a fan of veal unless its rose and even then.. I use venison or beef shin, or lamb shanks. Either way, its a fantastic dish, all the better for being pared to down to essentials.

    x x x

  • 16 Chris // Apr 11, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Stunning… Will try this. Soon or when the weather warrants a hug the bowl kinda meal.

  • 17 Peter // Apr 11, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I like your minimalist surf-and turf braising liquid; the salty pork and fish must have been excellent together. I’m going to try it with guanciale.

  • 18 Brad // Apr 11, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    God’s perfect dish? Some people think so. And veal is so under-represented in our cooking. Major yum – thanks for sharing. How many people knew that Rick Moranis even wrote a country song about this dish, sort of? Here’s the Amazon link:

  • 19 claudia // Apr 11, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    brad – i need to get out more. who knew?

    peter – report back, or else.

    chris – you’d hug this bowl even in the midst of a 95 degree swelter. it really is lovable in all climates. but not as popular on a menu. that’s the beauty of having your own kitchen with your own rules. i say turn uo the a/c and braise away!

    ntsc – veal piccata is a favorite of mine. i feel about veal the way i feel about most meat. it’s all about the source… i can’t wait to hear about your bellies!

    mal – hey! i love your blog! very cool indeed. the way i see it is that we are all somebody’s baby – every animal. i don’t see a big diff in eating a young animal – but that’s just me… and it’s a point i would never try and argue with anyone as it is a very personal choice.

    mari – i’ll trade you this for some of your baked goods, anyday!

    min. inv. – one of the local restaurants here is doing a special this weekend of venison shanks with an orange gremolata…

    donald – you gotta move quick around here. pedal to the metal next time as it’s all gone…

    lesley – my fave show. i have it tivo’d. can not wait to watch it!

    lucy – the polenta and beans were great sides for this dish and great all on their own too. with more cheese maybe to fortify the polenta…

    robert – you are so right. that braise could handle just about any meat and i think we’d all be happy in the end.

    giz – the bones were all distributed fairly to various and sundry dogs i know…

  • 20 robin // Apr 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    So pretty! And so delicious, osso buco is just PERFECT food.

  • 21 Mal Carne // Apr 11, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    “the way i see it is that we are all somebody’s baby – every animal. i don’t see a big diff in eating a young animal – but that’s just me… and it’s a point i would never try and argue with anyone as it is a very personal choice.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with veal – it’s a necessity of dairy production – and pretty freakin’ tasty. But , to ensure domestic tranquility, her choice is mine, by default….. unless it’s on a menu somewhere when we’re out – then it’s game on :).

  • 22 Ethel // Apr 11, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I almost wanted to make it instead of buying it.
    What a great dinner, marrow and all.
    I tasted every word I read. Keep on cooking, writing and taking those great photo’s.
    PERFECTION MY DEAR. I look foward to reading your next treat.

  • 23 Diana // Apr 11, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I order this every time I see it on a menu. Yours looks better, with the polenta on the side.

    Will try.

    And you know I will, too.

  • 24 Julie // Apr 11, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Some recipes just read deliciously — all those bits about adding the anchovies and pancetta and deglazing and reducing are like little bits of poetry. And the picture just looks so tasty.

  • 25 democommie // Apr 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm


    What everyone else said.

    I just finished demolishing the last eight feet of the chimney in my house. As soon as I can jack the floors up (next week, I hope) and get them level I’m going to treat myself to a refrigerator, so that I can at least have some variety in my diet.

    Dinner tonight is a glass (or three) 0f Cudgee Creek Shiraz, some jarred olives, a slab of asiago and some nice almonds. Oddly enough, it’s just right. But, if that osso buco was here, I’d be standing over it with a fork in one hand and my framing hammer in the other.

  • 26 Traci @ Soup of The Day // Apr 12, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Duuuuuuuuuuude. Yum.

    That looks like the perfect recipe, and veal stock makes a huge difference, if you have it. Sweet peas are also nice as a side dish with the sweet veal.

    My dog wants to know if she can have the bone~ when you’re done of course.

  • 27 Kim // Apr 12, 2008 at 6:58 am

    I am not a veal or anchovy eater, but I think you have won me over on this one. Just going to stare at the savory photo for about 5 more minutes to finish the job.

    My dogs wants me to cook this so he can have the bone that Traci beat us to.

  • 28 The Urban Eater // Apr 12, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Mal Carne said:
    “Veal; god how I miss it. The wife doesn’t eat babies -therefore, neither do I ”

    I seem to remember making you Lamb Chops on several occassions and you stating it was some of the best lamb chops you’d ever had.
    I may not eat babies, but I cook them very well.

  • 29 Mary Coleman // Apr 12, 2008 at 9:43 am

    The Osso Buco Quote from THE OFFICE:

    “Pam Beesly:
    Oh, I- I can help, starting dinner if you need it.

    Oh no, no, no, it’s just the Osso Bucco needs to braise for about three hours. Everything else is done!

    Pam Beesly:
    Three hours from now or three hours from earlier, like 4 o’clock?

    You know, Pam, in Spain, they often don’t even start eating until midnight.”

    Total classic scene.

  • 30 lifeinrecipes // Apr 12, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I believe “Marcella Says” to share some with me! One of my favorite dishes.

    I do lamb shanks a la Tom Valenti that have a bit of anchovy in the braise.

  • 31 michael // Apr 12, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    And I thought my brother in law made the best osa bocco around! You have turned me on to a new umami!

  • 32 Peter // Apr 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Ahh, anchovy…you don’t know it’s in there unless you’re told so.

    Your Ossobuco looks very inviting and now I’m off to surf your other dishes…

  • 33 Vincent // Apr 12, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Looks beautiful Claudia. I’ve used preserved lemons as well (instead of anchovy) and it comes out great. Also the addition of a tbsp of tomato paste to the pan and caramelizing before deglazing gave a great depth…also the beans (haricot?) seem a good pair with the polenta and veal – earthy. The quote about marrow is so true – there is nothing like it.

  • 34 melissa // Apr 12, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I LOVE osso buco. I made it for the first time a little over a month ago using a recipe I found on I Shot the Chef. steve and I were absolutely blown away by veal, it’s just a perfect, tender, incredible meat.

    I am a borderline fanatic animal lover (e.g., I am anti-zoos, I have major respect for animals and think they have deep souls) but I have no problem eating anything. I simply believe that we are meant to eat meat, whether you believe in creationism or evolution. it just makes sense.

    /philosophical crap

  • 35 melissa // Apr 12, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    oh crap, I also meant to tell you… I can’t believe you just went and came up with your own way to make this. WAY TO GO!

  • 36 Stephanie // Apr 13, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I have never tried to make osso buco at home, but love the dish when I have it at restaurants. I usually try to make a dish my own as well, so you’ve inspired me to strike out and tackle a home version! Love your blog!

  • 37 Quickthink » Blog Archive » Failure for Lunch // Apr 16, 2008 at 3:28 am

    […] for the day - we usually fail when we try to apply what we have just learned how to do. Like me making osso buco (you don’t want to know). It is normal (and we should plan for it)  — consider the […]

  • 38 cook eat FRET - osso buco redux // Jan 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    […] came along on its own. i urge you to make this – and to wing it. keep tasting. then adjust. i posted about this awhile back and there’s a recipe there for […]

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