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Osso Buco alla Milanese
Osso Buco alla Milanese
While the cuisine of Lombardy is rich and varied, one of the region’s signature dishes is Osso Buco
alla Milanese. Thick slices of veal shank are called osso buco in Italian or “bone with a hole.”   Osso
buco is rich and hearty.  It is traditionally served with Risotto alla Milanese.  The lemony gremolata
garnish helps to cut the richness of the dish. Traditionally, tomatoes are not used in this dish, but as
many people do like to add some tomato flavor, we have included it as an optional ingredient.

Bone marrow is critical in the preparation of Osso Buco because during the cooking process it
melts down, producing the signature flavor of the dish.  A special long-handled little spoon called an
esattore is used by the Milanese for digging the marrow from the bone; you can use a demitasse or
baby spoon.  The act of scooping the marrow out of the bone is called "riscuotere le tasse" or tax
collecting because of the determined way diners try to get every little bit of marrow out of the bone.
Veal shanks are not always commonly found in local supermarkets.  You may have to special order them or go to a good butcher shop. If you are ordering the veal
shank from a butcher ask for 1-1/2 to 2-inch thick slices from the middle part of the shank; the end of the shank does not have as much meat.  You may want to tie
each piece of veal with a piece of kitchen twine around its girth to keep the shank from falling apart during cooking.  The veal should braise until the meat could fall
off the bone and can be eaten with a fork.  Osso buco is traditionally served on a large platter surrounded by Risotto alla Milanese but it also goes well with mashed
Osso Buco
(Serves 4)


1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 pieces veal shank with bone, cut 1-1/2 inches thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 small onions
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups veal or chicken stock *
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup tomato paste (optional)

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped


Put the flour in a shallow bowl; season it with salt and pepper.  Dredge the veal
shanks in the flour and shake off any excess.

Put the oil and butter in a Dutch oven (large stockpot) over medium heat.  Slice
one of the onions and separate it into rings.  Add the veal and onion rings to
the pot.  Brown the veal shanks on both sides.  Use tongs to remove the veal
shanks and set them aside.

Chop the remaining onion.  Add the chopped onion, celery, carrots, and garlic
to the pot.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables
soften.  Season with salt and pepper.

Raise the heat to high, add the wine and deglaze the pot.  Return the veal
shanks to the pot, add the stock, bay leaves, and optional tomato paste.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.  Baste the meat a
few times during cooking.  The meat should be tender when pierced with a fork.
Transfer the veal shanks to a serving platter.  Remove and discard the bay
leaves.  Remove the cover from the pot; simmer for a few more minutes to
reduce the sauce.  Pour the sauce over the veal shanks and sprinkle with the

*You can also combine 1 cup each of chicken and beef broth

To make the gremolata:
Combine the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl.

Risotto alla Milanese
(Serves 4)


1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook under
tender but not browned, 7 to 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in
a saucepan and add the saffron to it.  Once the onions are tender, add the rice
and stir until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the wine to the skillet with
the rice.  Add a ladle full of stock to the rice; cook, stirring frequently, until the
liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding the stock, a ladle at a time, waiting until
absorbed before adding more.  Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, about
20 minutes.  Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Serve.  Pass with extra
Parmesan, if desired.
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