I’ve just returned from a fabulous month in Italy. The days are warm, the nights are cool, there are fewer tourists, and the trees and vines turn a gorgeous yellow.
Nothing could be lovelier, except Italy in the Spring.
I have a boutique travel business called Viaggi Deliziosi with which I take eight food-lovers to experience “my Tuscany” for a week. We explore nearby villages, visit artisan food and wine producers, tour interesting sites, have long delicious Italian lunches, and cook dinner together several nights – all while staying in a stunning villa located in the midst of the vineyards of Chianti.
Osso Buco is always one of the favorite dishes that we cook. It is named for the delectable shinbone containing bone marrow, which is the focus of the recipe.
I suggest serving the Osso Buco with Polenta or Risotto.
Here is the recipe that has been adapted from the one in my first cookbook, The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide, Simon & Schuster 2000.
Braised Veal Shanks
4 meaty cuts of bone-in veal shank, each 2 inches thick (3 to 4 pounds, total)
Salt and pepper
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips (¾ cup)
2 large onions, chopped (3 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped (1½ cups)
2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoons dried sage
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup minced parsley
1 filet of anchovy, minced (optional)
Liberally sprinkle the seasoning salt over the veal shanks and rub in. Dust with unbleached all-purpose flour and shake off the excess. Set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto, onions, garlic, and carrots, and sauté until golden brown. Remove the mixture and set aside. Add the remaining ¼ cup olive oil to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the lamb shanks and brown them on both sides, turning as necessary using tongs. Return the vegetables to the pan. Add the wine, tomato paste, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and mix well into the sauce. Scrape the hardened bits of meat into the sauce. Cover and slowly braise the meat over low heat or place in the oven at 350º for one to two hours. Add ½ cup of the chicken broth after 15 minutes. Turn the meat occasionally and add chicken broth, as the juices cook away and there is less than an inch of liquid in the sauté pan surrounding the lamb shanks.
Cook until the meat is very tender and almost ready to fall off the bone. Remove the shanks to a plate. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook the sauce to reduce slightly. Return the shanks to the pan to keep warm while preparing the plates.
Mix the zest, garlic, parsley, and anchovy in a small bowl. Set aside.
Adapted from The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook & Guide by Paula Lambert
To learn more about Paula’s trips to Tuscany, visit her website http://www.mozzarellaco.com/classes.html
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