Monthly Archive for July, 2007

Osso Buco w/ Risotto alla Milanese

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I typically don’t eat veal for a couple of reasons:

1) It doesn’t have much flavor (and their are cheaper meats that are way more flavorful).

2) I’m becoming more aware of  the way animals are treated on their way to and at the slaughter house – the veal making process is typically not very humane.

When I invited a family friend over for dinner I let him choose between 2 main courses I was thinking of preparing, and guess what he chose? Yes, veal, specifically osso buco. I made saffron risotto for the accompanying starch because it was traditionally what my mom made w/ osso buco. For the veggie I kept it simple and made broccolini which I served at room temperature w/ lemon and olive oil. For dessert I churned another batch of sweet potato gelato w/ candied pecans (it is quickly becoming one of my favorite flavors!).

Osso Buco w/ Gremolata (recipe adapted from Epicurious.com) **serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

8 large 2 1/2 inch thick veal shanks (pat dry each shank and tie securely w/ kitchen string to keep meat attached to the bone)

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

3/4 cup finely chopped carrots

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 cups beef or chicken broth (I used 2 cups of each)

1 1/2 cups drained canned plum tomatoes (chopped)

A cheesecloth bag containing 6 fresh parsley sprigs, 4 fresh thyme sprigs, and 1 bay leaf

 1/2 teaspoon salt

All-purpose flour for dredging the veal shanks

For the gremolata:

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (preferably flat-leafed)

2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon minced garlic

 **In a bowl, mix together and set aside until service.

Procedure:

1) Season veal shanks w/ salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess.

2) In a heavy skillet heat 3 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil over moderately high heat until the foam subsides, then brown the shanks in batches, adding some additional butter and oil as necessary, and transfer them to a platter when browned.

3) Add the wine to the skillet, bring to a boil and scrape the brown bits from the sides and bottom. Reduce until only 1/2 cup of wine remains and reserve in a small bowl.

4) In a flameproof casserole just large enough to hold the veal shanks in one layer, cook the onion, carrots, celery and the garlic in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over moderately low heat, until the vegetables are softened.

5) Add the shanks to the casserole  w/ any accumulated juices, as well as the reserved wine mixture and enough broth to almost cover the shanks.

6) Spread the tomatoes over the shanks, add the cheesecloth bag, the salt, pepper to taste and bring the liquid to a simmer over moderately high heat.

7) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, cover the casserole and braise  for 2 hours or until veal is tender.

8) Tranfer shanks to an ovenproof serving dish, carefully remove the strings and keep warm in oven.

9) Skim the fat off the pan juices and reduce until there is only about 3 cups remaining.  

10) Put pan juices in a gravy boat at service time.

   

Risotto alla Milanese (recipe adapted from Clifford A. Wright and Allrecipes.com)

** serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups arborio rice

8 cups beef broth (I used a combination of beef and veggie broth)

1 teaspoon saffron powder (place in a small bowl w/ 3 tablespoons warm water)

1 small onion, very finely chopped

3/4 cups dry white wine

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

1) Heat broth and keep it simmering… have a ladle nearby. 

2) In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 3/4 of the butter and cook the onion over medium heat until translucent, stirring frequently.

3) Add wine to the onion and continue cooking until wine is nearly evaporated.

4) Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to evenly coat the grains.

5) Add 1 cup of the hot broth, season w/ salt and pepper, and stir almost continuously until the liquid evaporates. Ladle in more broth, continue stirring, while liquid evaporates. Continue this process until rice is between al dente and tender.

6) A few minutes before rice is done, add the diluted saffron and stir until well incorporated. Stir in the remaining butter  and 1 cup of the parmesan cheese.

7) Serve w/ remaining parmesan cheese.

As you can see in the photo, I mounded the risotto on the center of a very large serving dish, then carefully (so they remained intact) placed the osso buco around the risotto.  I didn’t sprinkle them w/ a bit of the gremolata as the recipe indicated because I wasn’t sure if everyone would like it  – I let them add the gremolata if desired. If you have any parsley left, you can use it to garnish the serving dish too.

Buon Appetito!

Bruno

Bastille Day 2007

It was a great day to celebrate the storming of the Bastille. This is the second annual Bastille Day party chez Paula’s maison. She really outdid herself this year! The menu was magnifique and she even had a French music ensemble playing some Edith Piaf, among other tunes, to set the mood!  There were many more people attending, however my friend and former co-blogger, Duane, was not present this year to chronicle the event as he did last year. Unfortunately he recently found out his cancer has returned and he is once again battling this horrible disease. My thoughts and prayers are w/ him. I wish him the best and hope he will be present next year and able to announce his cancer is once again in remission. Duane, since you were unable to be there, here are some photos for your vicarious enjoyment. I tip my glass to you my friend, may you be back in action soon…

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Le menu; amuse bouche

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Le dinner

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Paula avec ami; Herve'; la music

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Mon tutti fruitti; autre dessert

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Les party people

Salut…

Bruno

A Week in the Life – The Culinary Tour (i.e., Pigging Out!)

We had a great week flying around the US and sampling the food of the region whenever we had the opportunity! We started our eating tour in Denver, where we had dinner at Las Brisas, a great little Mexican restaurant near our hotel. I don’t have any photos but you can click the link for their menu. Next stop Jackson Hole, where we had lunch at Sweetwater Restaurant. They serve great elk burgers and elk sausage sandwiches! The next evening we found ourselves in Des Moines, Iowa. We had dinner at Centro (sorry, no photos, but check out the link), then strolled around the Des Moines Art Festival which was in progress. As luck had it, later in the week we landed in New York City. We stopped in the Shark Bar at Spring and Mulberry Street for a couple of Belgian beers (Hoegaarden wheat), then headed over 1 block on Spring to Lombardi’s to sample some of their famous coal fired oven pizzas. The ovens heat up to 850 degrees F, creating a beautifully crispy, chewy and blistered crust. I tried to get the dough recipe, but apparently it’s top secret! After the pizza we headed over to Little Italy for dessert at Ferrara Cafe. They serve great gelato and cannoli among other things!

Hope you enjoy the photos….

 Ciao,

Bruno

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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Jim, Jeff and me in front of Sweetwater

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Up, up and away!!

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Me in the Shark Bar…  Little Italy and Grand Central Station 

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Lombardi’s, yum!