Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco 1 Ingredients:

6 veal/beef shank cross cuts, about 1 ½ inch thick
salt and pepper
flour for dredging, as needed
olive oil, as needed
3 cups onion, diced
1 ½ cups carrots, diced small
1 ½ cups celery, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (156ml) can tomato paste
2 ¼ cups dry wine
1 ½ litres chicken or beef stock
sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary*
cornstarch (optional)

Directions:

Trim the veal/beef shanks, and season them with salt and pepper, then dredge through the flour, shaking off any excess flour. Heat oil in a large pot and sear the meat to a deep brown colour, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Due to the amount of meat you are browning, you may have to do this in batches. Remove the meat and keep separate.

Put the onions in the pot and stir, until golden brown. You can add a little more oil if needed to keep the onions from burning, but you do not want a lot of oil in the pot. Add carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté stirring frequently, cooking for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it turns a deeper colour and gives off a sweeter aroma, about 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan with wine, and reduce liquid by half. At this point, most likely your pot will not be large enough to fit all of the meat and vegetable mixture/sauce, so I often transfer everything to a large casserole dish or aluminum pan. Pouring about half of the vegetable mixture down first, then the meat in a single layer, then topping with the rest of the vegetable mixture. At this point you want to add enough stock to cover the meat by ⅔. Add the sprigs of herbs and cover the dish and put in a 350 degree oven, letting it braise for 2 – 2 ½ hours, until tender.

Classically, at this point, you would remove the herbs and the meat from the pan, and then strain the sauce, only leaving the liquid behind to be thickened with some cornstarch and served with the meat. In my household, vegetables are NEVER put aside! We do not strain the liquid, but serve it as an accompaniment to the meat, often on top of wide egg noodles. Should you wish the actual liquid of the sauce to be thicker, you can separate some and thicken it with cornstarch to serve as an almost gravy. Any way you serve it, you must enjoy!

* to learn how to clean rosemary and thyme properly, click here.

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The National Dish of Italy?

Italian Cuisine

So when I looked up online what were the national dishes of Italy, I got three: Lasagna, Pizza and Polenta. Well, I already did a lasagna recipe (it was my first post! Click here for the reference). Pizza?! I could do an entire week on pizza alone! Thin crust, thick crust, deep dish, veggie, cheese-less, oy! The options are endless! And polenta? Personally, I love it. It’s rich and creamy, comforting and yet kinda fancy at the same time. But truth be told, outside of Italian families, not many North Americans know about its wonders. Well, I take that back, some people here do know about polenta, but they call it grits, and it’s a whole other ballgame.

So, to me, when I want to think of a big festive Italian dinner… one where I’m trying to impress someone, I think of Osso Bucco. Traditionally made with veal shanks, it can be done with beef or lamb shanks instead for those that are wary of veal. Heck, truthfully, it can be done with any well muscled piece of meat, as the steps that you are using to prepare it are simple. Sear. Flavour. Braise. That’s it. The benefit of using the shank bone is the amazing marrow that cooks along with the meat, adding delicious flavour, and for those not watching (or not caring about) their cholesterol, spread on a piece of bread, sprinkled with a little salt…. I’m in heaven! So today’s recipe is for the aforementioned dish… from my cucina to yours, mangiare bene and buona notte!