Ossobuco milanese is perfect for cold evenings, and great for company, as you can prepare it in advance and re-heat it when your guests arrive. Like most braises, it gets better with a day or two of rest in the fridge.   Traditionally, it’s served with a saffron risotto, but this time I made it with mashed potatoes.  The sauce is so luscious, and mashed potatoes are also a perfect match.  

When preparing such a classic dish, I avoid “simplified,” “easy,” “quick,” “low fat,” or “light” versions.  My favorite recipe for ossobuco comes from Marcella Hazan, a respected authority on Italian cooking. I scaled down her recipe, which is posted below, and cooked only 4 veal shanks. But, the dish is satisfying, and the original recipe is certainly enough for 6 to 8 happy folks.

(from Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

6 – 8 veal shanks
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup diced onion
2/3 cup diced carrot
2/3 cup diced celery
1 cup dry white wine
2 strips lemon zest
1 cup  chicken stock (I used beef stock, homemade)
1 + 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 – 4 parsley sprigs

for gremolata
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp finely minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced Italian parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Tie each shank tightly with a piece of twine to prevent them from falling apart during cooking.  Lightly season the shanks with salt and pepper, then flour both sides of the meat and brown them in a skillet with very hot olive oil. Set the meat aside, discard most of the oil,  deglaze the pan with 1 cup of white wine, and set it aside.

Add butter to an oven-proof pan with a tight-fitting lid (like a Le Creuset pan) large enough to hold the meat in a single layer, and saute the onion, carrot, and celery mixture for about 6 minutes, until translucent.  Add the lemon peel and cook for a couple more minutes, then add the meat to the sauteed veggies,  pour the wine from deglazing the skillet over it and add the stock, the tomatoes, bay leaves, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bring the contents to a simmer, cover and transfer the pan to the oven. Let it cook for 2 – 3 hours (depending on the thickness of your shanks),  until the meat is fork tender.  If the pot gets too dry, add a few tablespoons of water.

Add the gremolata on top of the meat and sauce a few minutes before serving, and don’t allow it to cook for a long time.   Cut the twine around the meat, and serve.


to print the recipe, click here

receita em portugues na segunda pagina

Comments: The ideal thickness for veal shanks in ossobuco  is 1.5 inch. Mine were slightly thinner, which made it difficult to tie the string around them, but the meat cooked faster: a little over 2 hours was enough.

I expected that the string wasn’t going to stay tied during the cooking, but I decided to use it anyway. Another important tip from Marcella:  don’t remove the silver membranes around the shanks, they help preserve the shape of the meat as it braises.

Cutting the veggies:  for this recipe, I diced them by hand, as uniformly as possible. Since they are so prominent in the sauce, using a food processor or other gadget compromises the presentation.

Marcella advises to add liquid up to 3/4 of the height of the shanks; I added a little more, but I didn’t have to adjust the amount until the end.  Every half an hour or so I flipped the shanks in the liquid, and made sure that it wasn’t boiling too furiously.  During the final 45 minutes I lowered the temperature to 325F.

We had it with a nice slice of homemade sourdough bread, anointed with some of the bone marrow – it was pure bliss!    I can hardly wait to enjoy the leftovers later this week!



6-8 ossobuco de vitela
Sal e pimenta
2 colheres de sopa de óleo de oliva
4 colheres de sopa de manteiga
1 xícara de cebola picada
2 / 3 de xícara de cenoura picada
2 / 3 de xícara de salsao picado
1 xícara de vinho branco seco
2 tiras de casca de limão
1 xícara de caldo de galinha
1 + 1 / 2 xícaras de tomate picado
1 colher de chá de tomilho fresco
2 folhas de louro
3 – 4 raminhos de salsa

para a gremolata
1 colher de chá de raspas de limão
1 / 4 colher de cha’ de alho picado
1 colher de sopa de salsinha picada

Aqueca o forno em temperatura media.

Amarre cada ossobuco com um barbante para manter o formato durante o cozimento. Tempere levemente com sal e pimenta, passe cada lado da carne em farinha de trigo e doure no azeite em ambos os lados.   Reserve a carne, jogue fora a maior parte do oleo e adicione o vinho branco a frigideira, dissolvendo bem o que estiver grudado na superficie da panela.

Adicione a manteiga a uma panela grande com tampa que va’ ao forno   e refogue a cebola, cenoura, e salsao  por cerca de 6 minutos, até que fiquem macios. Adicione a casca de limão e cozinhe por mais dois minutos,  em seguida, adicione o vinho reservado, o caldo de galinha, os tomates, folhas de louro e tomilho. Tempere com sal e pimenta.

Leve o conteúdo a fervura, tampe a panela e transfira para o forno. Deixe cozinhar por 2 – 3 horas (dependendo da espessura do ossobuco), até que a carne fique bem macia.  A cada meia hora,  vire a carne e se o liquido estiver secando demais, adicione um pouco de agua.

Adicione a gremolata por cima da carne e do molho alguns minutos antes de servir.  Corte o barbante em torno da carne, e sirva.


  1. Amy… leftovers were better than the first day, just as I expected them to be….

    Dona, I used canned Muir tomatoes, diced. The fresh tomatoes are pretty sad these days, I prefer to use canned


  2. Hi, Barb

    Fine Cooking is going through a major change, in fact this is happening for all forums associated with Taunton Press (Homebuilding, Gardening etc). I think the search function is not yet incorporated in the new format, but that should happen in the near future.


  3. Pingback: PEPPERY CASHEW CRUNCH | Bewitching Kitchen

  4. Pingback: How to cook the perfect osso buco

  5. This is a great recipe. In my experience it works best with really long slow cooking – five hours is good. And always make a big batch with plenty of veggies; after you have eaten it the first time you can remove the remaining bones and reduce the sauce to eat with pasta, freezing it if that is convenient.


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