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Osso Buco Sunday Supper

October 18th, 2008 · 63 Comments

Budget Osso Bucco

My family always used to have Sunday suppers at my grandparents’ house when I was young. I remember the smell of roast pork, sour kraut and dumplings washing over me as I stepped into their house. “Sunday is family day,” my Mom would say, whenever I wanted to plan weekend activities with friends. But I didn’t usually mind. I loved gathering around my grandparents’ table with my parents, sisters, aunt, uncle and cousins. For an afternoon the rest of the world was put on pause.

I made Sunday supper for Geoff and I last weekend. After habitually screening recipes for quickness and ease for weeknight meals, it was fun to plan on taking my time. For the first time in a while I was cooking for fun instead of necessity.

I chose a Mario Batali braised meat recipe from my new book, Food Network Favorites.  Osso buco is usually made with veal shanks, but I went the budget route and used plain beef shanks instead, cooking them a bit longer to compensate for the tougher meat. Beef is a third of the price of veal and still super tasty.

Budget Osso Buco with Gremolata
Adapted from Mario Batali’s recipe in Food Network Favorites and on FoodNetwork.com

4 beef shanks, cut two to three inches thick
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, chopped into 1/4-inch-thick coins
1 small Spanish onion, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
1 celery stalk, chopped into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the shanks all over with salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed 6 to 8 quart oven-safe pan or casserole dish, heat the olive oil until smoking. Place the shanks in the pan and brown all over, turning to get every surface, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the shanks and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the carrot, onion, celery and thyme leaves and cook, stirring regularly, until golden brown and slightly softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil.

Place shanks back into pan, making sure they are submerged at least halfway. If shanks are not covered halfway, add more stock. Cover the pan with tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil. Place in oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat is nearly falling off the bone.

Remove the pan from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving with Gremolata.

Basic Tomato Sauce
I make Mario’s tomato sauce all the time. This recipe makes a large batch but leftovers are great. I pour mine into a Ziploc container and freeze, so it’s handy the next time I need pasta sauce.

1/4 cup
1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried leaves)
1/2 carrot, shredded finely
2 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
Salt to taste

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until translucent but not browned. Add thyme and carrot, cook 5 minutes over medium heat and add tomatoes. Bring to boil, lower heat to just bubbling and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Gremolata
This is the traditional osso buco companion. I was surprised by how well it complimented the meaty dish. It adds a nice freshness and zing.

1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted until dark brown
Zest of 1 lemon

Mix the parsley, pine nuts and lemon zest loosely in a small bowl. Set aside utnil ready to serve.

Tags: dinner · italian · recipes · weekend project

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