This slowly braised, melts-in-your-mouth tender and falls off the bone with very little persuasion dish, is one of my favorites.
The original version was seasoned with cinnamon, allspice and bay and garnished with Gremolada, (a mixture of lemon zest, garlic and parsley). The modern version incorporates tomatoes, giving the dish a richer flavor. Ossibuchi (plural) is a classic dish of Milan and traditionally served with risotto alla Milanese, a saffron risotto. Originally served only to locals in an osteria, (the neighborhood ristorante), you can now find this comforting dish on many Italian menus … or you can make it yourself. It’s really not difficult and once it’s in the oven, there it stays so you can chat with your dinner guests until you’re ready to serve.
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 beef or veal shanks (about 1 pound each and 1-inch thick)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 1/2 cans beef consommé
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- Heat one tablespoon of the butter with one tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan, add carrots, celery, onions and garlic.
- Cook until onions are golden then transfer vegetables to a large oven-proof baking dish.
- Season the shanks with salt and pepper. If you pat the meat dry, (so it sears not steams), there is no need to coat with flour.
- Heat the other 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil, (same pan you used for veggies) add shanks and brown well on both sides.
- Carefully place shanks on top of vegetables.
- Drain off the fat from the saute pan, add the tomatoes, wine, beef consomme, basil, thyme, bay leaf and strip of lemon peel.
- Bring everything to a boil, add the salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the beef shanks, cover and bake at 375* for 2 hours. Meat should be very tender.
To Prepare Gremolata:
Mix together 1 clove crushed garlic, chopped Italian parsley and lemon zest.
To serve, place a shank in a pasta bowl, spoon sauce over top and sprinkle with a little bit of Gremolata. A small cocktail fork for the marrow in the bone would be a nice finishing touch.