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Osso Buco with Tomatoes, Olives and Gremolata

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This recipe, from, is one of many versions of the Italian specialty. While Osso Buco is a homey stew, it is also very much a special-occasion dish. You can serve it with risotto, polenta, pasta, couscous or even a barley pilaf — or serve without pasta of grain if you’re having a separate pasta course.

Veal shanks, tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs go into this savory stew.

Gremolata is a fresh condiment, made of finely chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. It is sprinkled on top before serving. Sometimes cooks like to make extra to pass at the table, too. Finally, remember that the marrow in the veal shanks is delicious, rich and delicately meaty in flavor. Try it along with the rest of the dish.

Other recipes also might call for lamb shanks, or even pork, but veal is the classic. Here are a few cook’s notes for making the dish.

• You’ll need a 7- to 9-quart heavy ovenproof pot (wide enough to hold shanks in 1 layer)

• Osso buco (without the gremolata) can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered. Reheat, covered, in a 325-degree oven, 30 to 40 minutes.

• Osso buco can also be cooked in a large roasting pan. Straddle pan across 2 burners for browning and boiling, then cover pan tightly with foil for braising.

Italian wines to go with Osso Buco

Brown veal shanks in a heavy-bottomed pan in mixure of olive oil and butter.

Osso Buco with Tomatoes, Olives and Gremolata

8 to 10 (10-oz) meaty cross-cut veal shanks (5 to 6 1/2 lb total), each tied with kitchen string
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 (28- to 32-oz) can whole plum tomatoes with juice (not in purée), coarsely chopped
1 cup large green olives without pits, halved, or use Kalamata olives, if you wish
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 (2- by 1/2-inch) strips fresh lemon zest, cut crosswise into fine julienne
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

For the Gremolata
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pat shanks dry and season with salt and pepper. Divide shanks and flour between 2 large sealable plastic bags and shake to coat, then remove shanks from bags, shaking off excess flour. Heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter in ovenproof pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then brown shanks well in 2 batches, 10 to 12 minutes per batch, transferring to a plate.

Reduce heat to moderate and add remaining tablespoon butter to pot along with onions, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, until onions are pale golden, about 5 minutes. Add remaining stew ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring. Arrange shanks in pot in a single layer and return to a simmer. Cover pot and braise shanks in middle of oven until very tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Remove strings from osso buco and discard along with parsley sprigs and bay leaf.

Make gremolata and serve osso buco:
Stir together gremolata ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over osso buco. Serve immediately.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Adapted from


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2 Responses to “Osso Buco with Tomatoes, Olives and Gremolata”

  1. lemurleaf says:

    I love osso buco! I think it goes particularly well with saffron risotto. I will definitely try this recipe (when I get a few dollars ahead so I can buy veal shanks!).