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Osso Buco w/ Risotto alla Milanese


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 **serves 6 to 8


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.


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

** serves 6 to 8


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


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!


13 Responses to “Osso Buco w/ Risotto alla Milanese”

  1. 1 Ellie

    Oooh, and as it happens, I’ve been keeping my eye out for an osso bucco recipe too, as my brother is hankering for some meaty stews :) Yours looks and sounds pretty good!

  2. 2 Shaun

    Bruno – I think this is one of the ultimate pairings in food-dom, osso buco and risotto alla milanese. For me, this is a fall and winter mainstay – even my good friend, who is from the Milan area, praises the osso buco that my partner Eric and I make (we use beef shanks in winter). Your friend chose well, and it is good of you to consider the meat’s provenance.

  3. 3 Patricia Scarpin

    The combination of dishes looks perfect, Bruno!
    Risotto is my favorite food. :)

  4. 4 brunosdream

    Ellie – I’m glad you found my recipe in time to make it for your brother. All the friends I had over really enjoyed it… hope you do too!

    Shaun – Yes, it is a great pairing! My dad was from Milan so I imagine my mom made this dish to satisfy his craving for food from his home town. Next time I will have to try making it w/ beef shanks like you do.

    Patricia – Thank you! I love risotto too. The chef at the restaurant I used to work at made a great one in autumn w/ butternut squash.

  5. 5 The Culinary Chase

    Hi Bruno! Both are favorites of mine………….delicious!!

  6. 6 Nupur

    Hi Bruno! Your new blog looks great! How are you doing? Hope to catch you sometime in St. Louis :)

  7. 7 brunosdream

    Hi Culinary Chase… yes, they are delicious!

    Hi Nupur… Thanks! I’m doing fine. We should do another food blogger pot luck w/ all the great local produce that’s in season.

  8. 8 Lisa

    Looks scrumptious! Osso buco is one of my most favorite dishes. Sadly, I don’t eat it often, both because of the “humane” concerns and because I can hardly ever find good veal shanks here in Champaign. I did get some about 5 years ago and made the dish and it was so wonderful. And yep, with that risotto, it’s heaven.

    The broccolini looks gorgeous, too.

  9. 9 brunosdream

    Thanks Lisa, good to hear from you!

  10. 10 Tartelette

    Great recipe! Osso bucco is one of my dad’s sigature dishes. I’ll have him make it next month when my parents come visit.

  11. 11 brunosdream

    Tartelette – Thanks! Sounds like your dad is a great cook… it must run in your family!!

  12. 12 Julie

    I’ve never had osso bucco, but even more than eating it, I’ve been wanting to try cooking it. Two birds with one stone–I’ll have to make it soon!

  13. 13 brunosdream

    Hi Julie – Go for it… I’m sure you’ll enjoy doing both!

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