Monday, November 17, 2008

Osso Buco and Butternut Squash Risotto

A delicious traditional Italian dish is "Osso Buco." The name means, literally, "hole in the bone", as the sauce gets its rich flavor from the veal bones and the tender marrow that's hiding inside.

My local Costco had veal shanks cut for osso buco at an excellent price recently, and knowing how much my husband loves this meal I decided to practice some Italian style cooking "dare il tempo al tempo" (giving time to time), and spent a half a day to prepare this slowly braised meal as a special treat for him.

I used Marcella Hazan's recipe from her cookbook "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking." Mrs Hazan has been called the "Godmother of Italian cooking, " and a nice interview with her can be read at this link on Epicurious.

I used only four large veal shanks instead of the 6 - 8 Mrs. Hazan's recipe called for, but I left all the other ingredients the same as I wanted the extra sauce to use a second time.
Here is Mrs. Hazan's recipe:
Osso Buco

6 - 8 1 and 1/2 inch thick veal shanks, tied tightly around the middle
Flour, spread on a plate
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick butter) butter
1 cup diced onion
2/3 cup carrot -chopped fine
2/3 cup celery - chopped fine
1 cup dry white wine
2 strips lemon zest
1 cup beef stock
1 1/2 cups Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped with juices
1/4 tsp dried thyme or 1/2 tsp fresh
2 bay leaves
3 - 4 parsley sprigs
salt and pepper

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2.) Use a oven safe pot with a heavy bottom that is large enough to accommodate all the shanks in a single layer. Turn heat to medium and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 6 - 7 minutes. Add chopped garlic and lemon peel and cook another 2- 3 minutes until vegetables are wilted. Then tum off heat and set aside.

3.) Put vegetable oil into a skillet and turn heat on medium high. Turn the veal shanks in the flour, coating them all over and shaking off the excess flour.

When the oil in the skillet is quite hot slip min the shanks and brown them deeply all over. Remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon or tongs and lay them over the cooked vegetables in the pot.

4.) Tip the skillet and remove almost all of the oil used to brown the veal, and add the white wine and reduce it over medium heat while scrapping off all the browned bits of meat left behind. Pour the skillet juices over the veal in the pot.

5.) Pour the beef broth into the skillet, bring it to a simmer, and then pour it over the veal shanks in the pot.

Also, add the chopped tomatoes and their juices, the thyme, the bay leaves, parsley, pepper and salt. The juices should come up two thirds of the way up to the top of the veal shanks, if not add more broth.

6) Bring the liquids in the pot to a simmer, cover the pot tightly and place in lower portion of the oven. Cook for about two hours or until the meat feels very tender when prodded by a fork, and a creamy thick sauce has formed. Turn the shanks in the pot about every 20 minutes. If, while the osso buco is cooking the sauce becomes insufficient, add two tablespoons of water at a time , as needed. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Traditionally osso buco is served with an aromatic mixture called "gremolada,"that is added at the last minutes of braising, but Mrs. Hazan does not add it, and neither did I, as I didn't want to add more garlic to the dish, but I'll include the ingredients if you wish to use it.

Gremolada: (optional)

1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp finely minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced Italian parsley

Combine the ingredients evenly and sprinkle over the meat when the shanks are fully cooked, and cook another two minutes.

At the same time the osso buco was cooking, I cut two medium size butternut squash in half, coated them with some melted butter, and roasted them until they were soft when pieced with a fork.

I wanted to add some squash to a side dish of prepared risotto, to make this meal have an autumn accent. I also steamed string beans as another side dish.

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup hot water1/4 C dry white wine
2 - 3 cups hot chicken stock
1 Tbsp cold butter
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano ( or more to taste)
1 cup of warm roasted butternut squash, cubed (I reserved rest of the butternut squash,and refrigerated it to use for soup on another day, recipe to follow on another blog post)

Note:- Do not rinse the rice, the starches on the outside of the grains is what makes the risotto creamy. The chicken stock must be hot when you add it to the rice, so keep it in a saucepan on low heat on the stove while you're cooking.

1.)Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened.
2.)Add the rice and cook until the rice is coated with fat and starts to turn translucent around the edges.
3.)Lower the heat to medium low, add the wine and cook while stirring until the wine has been absorbed.
4.)Add one cup of the chicken stock, keeping it at a simmer, and cook uncovered while stirring constantly until almost all of the liquid as absorbed.
5.)At this point add the chicken stock about 1/3 cup at a time. Keep it at a low simmer, and cook the rice while stirring constantly.
If you start running low on chicken stock, go ahead and use hot water. Continue adding ladle fulls of broth, waiting until each addition has been almost absorbed before adding the next, cook while constantly stirring until the rice has is al dente, fully cooked but still retains a slight chew in the center.
6.)Take off heat and stir in a tablespoon of cold butter and grated Parmigiano and warm cubed pieces of butternut squash. Mix well and serve.

To serve the osso bucco, transfer cooked veal to a warm platter, carefully removing trussing strings without allowing the meat to fall apart, pour the sauce over and serve at once.

Needless to say my husband was thrilled with this dinner, and I have a feeling I'll be looking for veal shanks on sale more often to make it again!

An added bonus was that I was able to reserve about two cups of the sauce from the completed osso buco, because I cooked four shanks, instead of six. I used one cup of the sauce one evening as a topping for pasta, (see below) and froze the other cup for use at another time.
So although it takes time to make osso buco I was able to prepare a few complete meals from the preparations I did that day, which is always helpful.

Delizioso! (Delicious!)

Because we are on a Roman holiday of sorts, I thought I'd share a few pre-digital photos I scanned of an Italian holiday my family went on in May of 2001, and some favorite photos of Rome:
This photo was taken from the window of the Vatican Museum, as we waited on the long line to glimpse the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo (photography of the ceiling was forbidden, but you can see all of it on the web site) I love this panoramic shot as you can see one of the seven hills of Rome .
In this photo you can see my children and husband standing in front of St. Peter's Basilica. Notice the shorts my son (in the middle) is wearing? He was not allowed inside the basilica because shorts or sleeveless shirts are not allowed, for modesty reasons, even though his shorts were not all that short and they covered his knees. He and my husband had to exchange pants in the men's room so that he would have a chance to be able to see the interior of the church.
This has become one of our favorite anecdotes about our stay in Rome!

In this photo my husband and I are in front of theTrevi Fountain and yes, we did make sure to throw three coins with our right hand over our left shoulder into the fountain to make sure we come back to Rome one day as the legend states! Hope that will come true soon!
We spent an entire month touring all of Italy from north to south by train, making many stops along the way to stay in many cities. It was a dream come true for my husband to show us the country where he was born, and for us to meet his aunts, uncles, cousins and their children who still live in Italy, from the city of Susa in the Piedmont Region in the north, to his home town in Calabria, in the Reggio Calabria Region in the south.

Italy is one of the most beautiful countries on earth, and it is filled with history, art, music, delicious cuisine and warm and friendly residents.I hope you have been tempted to take your own dream vacation to Italy one day!


Janeen said...

Hic-cup) I must advise you that we have a security breech on the Mojo deck and surveillance video shows we have a double agent on board, it could be Sparky! (Hic-cup) My newest agent, Pierce, is currently enroute... I will keep you advised as we monitor the situation here at Headquarters.
Cha Cha

Wild Rose said...

Beautiful photographs Pat ~ I hope to visit Rome one day.

Thanks for stopping by to say hello. It has been a while since I have had a chance to pay many visits around blogland, so it is good to know that I haven't been forgotten!

Marie x

Bo said...

Hi there...That menu sounds like pure love to me! We were lucky enough to visit Europe in 2006 and I, too, threw coins in Trevi Fountain...I dream of returning!
;-) Bo

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

The meal sounds so wonderful and perfect for a fall night! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

And your photos of Italy brought me right back to last April when I was there.

Melissa Miller said...

Hi Pat, My those all look delicious! I'm sure he enjoyed his meal very much. Rome is my dream vacation day. Love the photos. Thanks for sharing.~Melissa

Janeen said...

ha ha Sorry to alarm you! I can hardly wait to see the comments between Museswings and Lavinia as they are so creative and quick witted! By the way, your dinner looks delicious! Great contribution for today!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This looks so delicious! I could sit in your kitchen and just watch you cook! WOW!

The photographs of Rome are beautiful, and I have always wanted to visit. My cousin just got back from spending six months in Italy. She and her husband are retired, and she decided that was something she had always wanted to do so they rented a place in Tuscany. Her dad's side of the family are Italian.

Thank you for sharing,


Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I am headed back to Rome in the spring. I'll throw another coin in the fountain for y'all (in case the last one didn't take)
The risotto looks so creamy.

Lavinia said...

Oh thank you Pat so much!!! What an excellent contribution to the Grape Escape. I have been hankering for osso bucco ever since it was mentioned in a novel I read last month, (the characters were visiting Italy and ordered it in a restaurant!). And now, voila thanks to you I have the recipe. Must call my butcher to see if he has those veal bones....

Thanks also for the risotto recipe and the pics of your trip to Rome. (Also the anecdotes...especially about the Vatican 'shorts'!) Truly wonderful to get a first hand account of this beautiful, fascinating country.

Anonymous said...

LOL I had the same short problem on a Greek island between Rhodes and Simi. I had to borow an ankle length skirt before I was allowed in the monastry to see the church. My sister had a ball teasing me about my "indecent legs". LOL

Lovely recipe. Must do something similar with the lamb in the fridge. Thanks for the inspiration Pat.

MuseSwings said...

Oooh! My favorite Italian dinner! How did you know! I'm famished! Think I'll just sit down here next to Janeen and have a bite or two. Lavinia, elbows off the table dahlink. And put that crown back in your purse. Sticking a couple of cabbage roses on the Iron Crown isn't going to fool customs, dear - or Janeen over there either.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Delightful post! I just enjoyed the photos of the food and of Italy so much. Vinny must've felt very special to have been served such a delicious meal!

Anonymous said...

That osso looks awesome!

see you there! said...

Ahhh, Italy. I make a decent osso buco but I'm anxious to try your Risotto with butternut squash. Probably after the T'Giving holiday.


Anonymous said...

The recipes are heavenly. What a wonderful blog!

Emily said...

Your Osso Bucco and risotto sound incredible! We're having a comfort food recipe contest and would love to have you enter! Recipes can be submitted to - the contest deadline is tonight at midnight. The prize is a $250 GC to

Janeen said...

Headquarters has received a tip that Madame Lavinia's Red Ruby is perhaps in your kitchen. The Cardinal came by to bless the meal...

Kitem said...

BEAUTIFUL great post, i just love everything Italian, as most French do. I have to try your osso bucco recipe, and the risotto as well. I've been to Italy a few times, and yes they are terrible at San Peter's entrance, I saw a full group from Brasil turn around because only ONE of them wasn't properly dressed, and they didn't want to separate the group. I love Toscany and its Chianti.
How's the baby doing?

Lisa B. said...

Geeze Pat...can you come cook for my husband?! He so deserves a meal like that...I don't seem to be able to find the time...not that I have the skills. That looks delish!! And what a wonderful trip:)

Alex said...'re a magnificent chef, yes? ;) I loved your photographs. Hope you had a good Monday!


PS I've become a Diva today...

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
Can I come to your house for dinner? This looks so delicious that I can see why it's one of your hubby's favorites! And you went to ROME! I have always wanted to visit Trevi Fountain and the outskirts of Italy. You are so lucky to have a husband who loves to travel.
Have a fun evening!
xo Cori

steviewren said...

Mmmmmmmmm, Pat I'm famished after reading your recipe. Your home must have smelled so delicious the day you cooked all of this. I wish I lived next door to you! I can imagine how much fun you and your family had on your trip to Italy. A whole month to explore everything sounds like heaven. I'm sure I could spend half of that time in the museums alone. Ciao!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Pat, the meal looks delicious and the photos of Italy, gorgeous!

Hoping for a wonderful week, for you.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I've never had this wonderful looking dish. I'll bet it's so yummy. I loved your pictures there in Italy. I think it's wonderful that you have been there in real life. I'll bet that dish smells so good while it's cooking. Does your husband love it? Does it remind him of his mother's cooking? I wish you could send a bowl of it through the internet. Yum yum!!

Betsy said...

That meal looks wonderful! I just had dinner but my mouth is watering! tee-hee!

M.Kate said...

oh..Pat, what a wonderful recipe. I have never eaten Osso Buco before and you made me super hungry just looking at these :D
And Italy, I would LOVE to go there one day. Have a blessed week ahead, big hugs too :D

Janeen said...

Well I think the day was a success even though all the *guests* were all over my agent ~Pierce. He'll need to go back to Basic Training tomorrow. Since you'll be on your on until the next mission I will leave you with the following information decide to accept a position on our next detail:

As an Agent of Cha Cha Security, you must work under these guidelines to be an effective operative:

Protect your identity at all costs, never de-mask during a mission, don't get followed home or to identifying vehicles, do not wear any clothing or items that may aid in identifying you.

Stay cool. Stay cool, especially when harassed. You are an ambassador of Anonymous. Although individuals trying to disrupt your mission will get on your nerves, you must not lose your temper. Doing so will threaten the mission and tarnish the reputation of Anonymous.

Always be across the street from the object being protested.
In the absence of a road, find another natural barrier between yourself and the target of the protest. Doing so will make it more difficult for individuals hostile to your cause to come and harass you.

Stay on public property. You may be charged for trespassing if you do not.

No violence, our missions are not "hot".

No weapons. This is a psy-op mission; you will not need weapons to complete your objectives. Play with their minds!

Anonymous is legion. Never be alone. Isolation during a mission marks you as a target for handlers who wish to provoke an angry reaction from you and other friendlies.

Bring water. A dehydrated, thirsty Agent is not a useful Agent.

Wear good shoes. You know, those cute strapy ones you bought today in Italy will be puuuuurfect! Following these rules will assure your comfort during the mission.

Document the mission. Videos and pictures of the event may be used to corroborate your side of the story if law enforcement should get involved. Furthermore, posting images and videos of your heroic actions all over the internet is bound to generate win, exhorting other Agents to follow your glorious example. Intelligence gathered during this mission will be extremely helpful for future engagements.

If you are captured or identified, Headquarters will deny knowledge of your existence.

If enemy operatives identify you, stay calm and call a lawyer. Document any confrontations as soon as possible for legal proceedings.

The enemy is everywhere. MOLES are among our ranks so trust no one.

Now go snuggle up with your secret agent and enjoy the crackling fire and more of Museswings vintage vino!

Commander of Headquarters

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
That recipe looks divine!

I really enjoyed your Italy pictures. I have some of the same shots! We were there in the winter, so we didn't have to worry about not having on enough clothes. LOL

I remember the wait to see the Sistine Chapel..and feeling a little claustrophobic inside because it was so crowded.

As part of our cruise to Greece this summer, we will spend 2 nights in Venice! We didn't get to go there on our trip to Italy!

Sandy said...

Your food looks outstanding! Thanks for visiting me today, Pat!

Darius T. Williams said...

TOTALLY looking good here - great flavors going on!


Willow said...

I was in Rome in Sept. 2001! And I'm hoping to get a scanner and make my photos digital. I love the Italy photos!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Oh Pat, Your husband must have been jumping up and down!! What a meal! and that risotto, yumm!
Your photo's are all gorgeous too!

Tracy said...

Such a delicious post, Pat!! I must come up with a vegetarian variation of Osso Buco...Love your risotto! Your Italian photos bring much delight--thanks so much! Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

aliceinparis said...

Wow what a meal. A lot of work went into preparing that. Yum!
I've never been to Rome but hope to one day! A dream city.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

My husband makes the best osso buco, and usually with mushroom risotto. I know what I will be asking him to make this weekend. I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Coming from Long Island, and having my parents coming from Brooklyn, it has been a breath of nostalgia and fresh air to read what you write. I will be linking your blog to mine so that I will remember to return often. Thank you very much.

Fifi Flowers said...

YUM... GREAT post! WOW... you cooked and everything... I am soooooo impressed!

LOUISE said...

You are such an amazing cook Pat. The Osso Buco looks absolutely delicious, a recipe I have yet to try. I love risotto though, infact I love all Italian food. I certainly wouldn't go hungry if I ever visited the country! x

dana said...

Does your hubby know how lucky he is to have YOU prepare such a wonderful and authentic Italian meal for him? Whoa! That looked delicious beyond description!
Your photos of your trip look so great--I can't imagine how great that was, to be on a tour of Italy for a month! What a delight to be able to meet your husband's family!
Take care! Dana

Rhonda said...

What a cook you are, I couldn't make that in a million years. Thanks for sharing your trip to Rome, a place I would love to see someday.


joe@italyville said...

I heart Osso buco... one of my favorites but I have never made it. You've given me some inspiration. Yours looks great!

Gina said...

Fabulous post Pat..and mouth-watering food!..My parents have just left Italy so I'm sure they'll have some stories to tell when they return in a month...I had my favourite Italian dish on the weekend in our favourite restaurant - veal marsala! Gxox

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!
Oh to see Trevi Fountain in person! What a dream trip that would be, a month in Italy!! Calgon take me away!
I have always heard people mention how good Osso Buco is but never knew exactly what it was. Sounds really wonderful! Thanks for sharing the recipe and it's so nice to see what it's supposed to look like when it's done and served. I like cookbooks with lots of pictures, I feel better motivated (or is that less scared?).
Big hugs, Sherry

claire said...

great blog! to those who will be inspired by it to travel to Rome I suggest to visit vacation rentals in rome to start planning your trip and learning more about the city and where you would like to stay, you can choose from a selection of apartments and hotel rooms for any budget all over the eternal city....ciao

Jessica said...

Hey Pat - I wanted to let you know that I made your Osso Buco and Butternut Squash Risotto for Christmas day for my family and friends and it was DELICIOUS! - One tip on the risotto - at the very end after the butter and parmesan - I added a few drizzles of white truffle oil - PERFECTION! It was a huge hit. It took me most of the day but now that I've done it I think I can manage a lot easier next time. Also I didn't have a dutch oven so I used my big roasting pan right on the stove and covered with foil when I put it in the oven. Thanks! Jessica