Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Milanese inspired Osso Buco

Osso Buco is a favoured winter dish in our house and up until recently there were two distinctively different types of meat you would use - the larger beef osso buco and the rather tiny veal osso buco. While the veal seems to be popular, I've always found it just a little too flavourless and confusingly, it looked nothing like the veal osso buco I'd see in the Italian markets.

However, a third option has arrived via my latest farmers' market find - rose veal.

rose veal© by Haalo

This is more like the meat I'd see in Italy, a little paler than beef, but way more meaty than the usual veal choice.

As I've already made Osso Buco al Pomodoro on the blog, I decided to use these for Osso Buco alla Milanese.

Unfortunately, this is also one of those Italian dishes that has been absolutely bastardised and I'll take the opportunity to make one important point

Osso Buco alla Milanese does not contain tomatoes.

When the dish was invented, tomatoes had not arrived in Lombardy so they couldn't be part of the dish. What you see nowdays is a hybrid and I think it's a dish that needs to start reclaiming its history.

The recipe I use is one my mother would cook in Milan and while originally it only had onions, veal, white wine and stock, it's been modified to include a little carrot and celery - I put that down to her Bolognese heritage.

osso buco© by Haalo

Osso Buco - Milanese inspired

4 rose veal osso buco
1 onion, finely sliced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped finely
white wine
stock (veal, chicken, vegetable), simmering
salt and pepper
parsley, finely chopped
lemon zest

Prepare the osso buco:

The first thing you need to do is remove the skin that runs around the osso buco - if you leave it in place, once you put the meat in the pan, the heat will cause this skin to contract and that will curl the meat. This means you don't get even browning and you don't end up with a nice flat piece of meat.

Once trimmed, dust the osso buco in a little flour. Season with salt and white pepper.

Put a heavy based pan on a medium heat - drizzle in some oil and a knob of butter. Once the butter has melted and is sizzling, add in the floured osso buco.

Brown each side well - it's important to colour the meat as it won't be hidden under tomatoes.

rose veal© by Haalo

Remove the osso buco from the pan and set to one side.

In this same pan, add in the onions, carrot and celery, and sauté gently until softened but not coloured.

Deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine - let it bubble and reduce before adding the osso buco back to the pan.

Pour over enough simmering stock to just cover the osso buco - put a lid on the pan and place in a preheated 160°C oven. Let it cook for about two hours. Turn the meat every 30 minutes to ensure it's cooking evenly - remove the lid from the pan after 90 minutes. The meat is cooked when it falls from the bone.

Another difference in this version is the gremolata which you'll using find sprinkled over the finished product.

In this recipe, with about 5 minutes to go, you add the lemon zest and parsley to the pan, stir it through and let it cook so that it infuses those flavours into the dish. This eliminates that sometimes harsh flavour of lemon zest.


  1. I'd not heard of rose veal osso buco and agree with you about veal being too dainty for a hearty osso buco. Don't know what it is but so many glorious Italian dishes get bastardised with the over use of tomato, wonder why?

  2. Looks delicious. Can't wait to make this when the weather gets cooler.


  3. Hi Anna, poor carbonara is another that has suffered. Garlic is another overused ingredient. I think it might be that because one area or one dish used it, then obviously all italian dishes most follow.

    Thanks Paz!

  4. Well I stand corrected, never knew osso buco was traditionally made sans tomatoes. Thanks for setting the record straight! Your authentic version looks super.

  5. Thanks Marisa - the tomato version is also very good in its own way too


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