Osso Buco is where comfort meets luxury. Veal shanks are braised until tender in a delicious tomato sauce, served over golden risotto alla Milanese, and topped with a fresh and zesty gremolada.
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When it comes to cooking for my husband, I’ve got date night down.
They never did lie when they said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the first thing I made for my husband was a strawberry ‘shortcake’ for his nineteenth birthday. Basically a vanilla layer cake, whipped cream, a homemade strawberry sauce with fresh strawberries.
What’s funny is that was the same cake my mama made for my daddy as one of the first things she made him. *shrugs in coincidence*
They’ve been married for almost 30 years now.
Anywhoo, I love cooking up things to impress my husband. We’ve been together for just about 10 years, and I’m still impressing him with my cooking.
This is why I love the ‘Cook for your Man’ section of Sweet Tea & Thyme. These recipes are all about date nights, from impressing your boyfriend (or girlfriend, we don’t discriminate here) or whipping up something good for your husband of forever. Food really should be the sixth love language.
Okay, so let’s get to this Osso Buco.
It’s considered ‘ the comfort food of the wealthy’ in Milan, Italy. Especially when served with risotto alla Milanese, which is risotto that is flavored with saffron and broth that simmered away with saffron strands.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the entire world, and when it was originally put into risotto in Milan, people were going gaga because it turned risotto to the color of gold so they decided they must have it!
When you talk about luxury, Osso Buco is definitely where it’s at.
This is a fantastic winter meal, simmering away for about two hours on the stove, until the meat is falling off the bone and fork tender. Tender veal shanks, slowly braised in a delicious tomato sauce and mirepoix, served with a fresh gremolada (lemon zest, Italian parsley, minced garlic) on top and that risotto on the bottom will definitely knock your spouse’s socks. To keep the ‘osso buco’ style, you can tie the meat with twine after browning so the meat doesn’t fall apart. But it’s not necessary for a pretty plate, as you can see.
Not to mention the ‘osso buco’ of the osso buco: it translates to ‘bone with a hole’. It’s not real osso buco unless it’s got that bone and marrow! You can replace the veal shanks with beef shanks, but the flavor will be more ‘beefy’ since veal has a sweeter, more delicate flavor and texture, and you’ll still have that bone marrow (which is so good on a slice of toasted baguette!) that osso buco is famous for.
The bone marrow itself is so special that they even have a specific spoon made just to scoop it from the bone and eat. It’s really rich and decadent, just like the rest of the meal, so one large shank with risotto will fill up even the hungriest of hubbies. But because risotto is such a labor of love, an easy (and super delicious) replacement is some creamy mashed potatoes. Which, funny enough, is what my hubby prefers. Sometimes men just want some meat and potatoes, haha!
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- 2-4 veal 'osso buco' shanks, about an inch thick
- Salt and pepper
- Kitchen twine, optional
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, small dice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, small dice
- 1 celery stalk, small dice
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, flat
- 2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Sprinkle both sides of the veal very generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive and vegetable oils in a large dutch oven over high heat. Add veal and sear on both sides so it has a brown crust, about 3-4 minutes each side. Remove veal to a plate.
- Turn heat down to medium low and add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook on low heat for 8 minutes, until onion is translucent and slightly browned, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- While the veggies are cooking, tie some twine around each piece of veal if you want it to hold together for presentation purposes. It will fall apart during cooking. This step is optional.
- Add crushed tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir well, then return veal to the pot, place lid on and adjust the heat so the cooking liquid is at a gently bubbling simmer, around medium low. Cook until tender enough to be pried apart with forks; check at 1 and a half hour then every 10-15 minutes after until tender.
- To make Gremolada: Place the parsley leaves on a cutting board. Top with garlic and lemon zest. Finely chop the parsley together with the garlic and lemon. Transfer to a small serving bowl and set aside.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove veal into a large bowl, cover with foil to keep warm. Pour cooking liquid and veggies into a blender and blend until smooth, then pour back into pot and let simmer on medium for 10 minutes until reduced slightly and thickened. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Place a piece of Osso Buco on the serving plate, spoon sauce over, then top with gremolada. Serve with risotto alla Milanese or mashed potatoes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 582
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Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.