Last April I promised son Jeff that I would make it for his birthday but somehow it never happened—probably because it first takes a bank withdrawal to buy the veal shanks.
Tomorrow is Ken’s birthday and the gift to my men is last April's promise--which I made today. As with so many stews, it is better when given time to sit and absorb flavors. Plus making the risotto is that much easier when the meat just needs to heat in the oven.
OSSOBUCCO--BRAISED VEAL SHANKS
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
6-8 pieces of veal shank, cut into 2 inch pieces and tied with string
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dry white wine
BROTH2 cups canned Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped with their juice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 frest parsley sprigs
2 cups broth-approximately (I used 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup beef broth)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, very finely minced
1 tablespoon minced lemon rind
2 tablespoons chopped parsely
1 or 2 anchovy fillets, finely choppped (optional--I don't use them)
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Use a heavy broad casserole, 8-10 quart size, large enough to hold all the veal pieces flat-side down in one layer (or use 2 casseroles, but do not stack shank pieces on top of one another.) I use a large Cusinart cast iron dutch oven. Heat the butter over moderate heat. When it foams, add the pancetta, onion, carrot and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes, until carrot and celery begin to soften.
- Dredge veal shanks with flour, brushing off the excess. Heat the oil until it is ver hot in a large skillet over moderate-high heat and place the floured shanks in the pan. Turn the shanks until they are browned on all sides (I hate this process), then place them flat-side down in the casserole with the pancetta and vegetables.
- Skim all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet. Pour in the wine and boil for 2 – 3 minutes while scraping the sides and bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour the wine and the deglazing over the veal shanks in the casserole.
- Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf and parsley to the casserole with enough meat broth so that the liquid just covers the veal shanks. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn th heat to moderate. When the broth begins to simmer, cover the casserole and place it in the preheated oven. Cook for 2 – 3 hours. Baste every 30 minutes to keep the meat moist.
- Just before serving, make the gremolada: Combine the garlic, lemon rind, parsley and anchove.
- To serve, remove shanks from the casserole and place on individual plates. Cut the strings. Spoon some of the sauce over each piece of shank and top each serving with a sprinkling of gremolada. (don’t skip this.)
It really is best to make this a day early as with most stew type recipes, it is better the second day after absorbing all the flavors. But…you can make it the same day.I serve this with Risotto alla Milanese if I am ambitious. If not, I use spaghetti. My family is split on which it prefers.
From Risotto by Judith Barrett and Norma Wasserman