Holy Shanks! Italian Style

HOLY SHANKS, Italian Style

The dutch oven was filled with Italy tonight, ironic, since my dutch oven is made in Italy.. I guess it's only fair that it would be cooking some Italian food. Osso Buco, is a traditional Italian meal, everyone, and I mean everyone eats this wonderful slow cooked masterpiece. Where much of Italian food is concerned, to have tomatoes or not? That is the question. My answer? Always yes, tomatoes add the tangy slow cooked goodness that I think Italian food just can't live without, Italian food with out tomatoes, is like Sushi with no rice... as in it's not Sushi at all.

After a very long morning of running, Jon and I decided on Osso Buco, ok well he decided, when I suggested the recipe he practically started salivating and immediately began exalting in excitement. However, for the home connoisseur, please note, you should confirm you have access to veal shanks, we had to make a few calls before we found a butcher with satisfactory shanks available.

The shanks their cooking right now, and the recipe called for red wine, of which I am enjoying right now.... mmm, I love cooking with wine, and of course drinking it. Yum, spectacular, FANTASTIC!

To lessen to carnivorous affair we're getting ready to indulge in, I've made a creamy polenta Milanese. Generally it's made with Risotto, but I only have the patience for one intensive dish a night, so I decided to give a self designed recipe a whirl.

Polenta al la "Milanese"

2 cups of Polenta dry
2 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth
1 cup of Dry white wine
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
1/3 cup of grated Romano Cheese
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 pinches of Saffron

Bring the chicken broth, olive oil, and wine to a steady simmer, whisk in polenta until thickened. Add garlic, salt, pepper, saffron. Stir. Add milk and cook till smooth and desired consistency, add grated cheese and stir till melted completely. Serve promptly.

Jon and I ate the Osso Buco, we moaned, groaned, and savored each bite as if we'd never eaten something so orgasmic. Jon ate until his plate looked clean again..we even indulged in the bone marrow, some of you are probably cringing, but it was wonderful, there is nothing like it, and when your time comes, don't whimp out, do it, scrape the marrow clean out of the bone and prepare to be smitten with it for always.

Osso Buco with Tomatoes

A traditional garnish for osso buco, gremolata is sprinkled over the veal shanks at the end of cooking or is offered at the table to season individual portions of the finished dish. The heat releases the oils from the gremolata, distributing its fresh flavor. To make gremolata, in a small bowl, combine 1D2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 garlic cloves, minced. Stir to blend. Makes about 1D2 cup.

Serve osso buco with its traditional accompaniment, Risotto alla Milanese (see related recipe at right).


  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 veal shanks, about 6 lb. total, cut crosswise 1
    inch thick
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 leeks, chopped (Whites only)
  • 1 can of garlic and basil tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • Gremolata (see headnote) for serving


Put the flour in a wide, shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal shanks, coating them evenly and shaking off the excess flour. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the veal and brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minu tes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the onion, carrots and garlic, and sauté until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes, leeks, stock and rosemary, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, retu rn the veal to the pan, cover and simmer, turning occasionally, until the veal is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Transfer the veal to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil. Remove the rosemary and discard.

Increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Transfer half of the liquid and vegetables to a bowl; set aside. Using an immersion blender or a stand blender, puree the remaining liquid and vegetables until smooth. Re turn the reserved liquid, vegetables and veal to the pan and gently warm until heated through. Sprinkle with the gremolata and serve immediately.

Happy Cooking :)


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