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Tuscan Lamb Shanks

(Serves 4)
Tuscan Lamb Shank over Cannellini Beans
Tuscan Lamb Shank over Cannellini Beans

1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef broth
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Put the 1/2 cup of flour in a wide, shallow bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Dredge the lamb shanks in the flour and shake off any excess.

Put the oil and butter in a Dutch oven (large stockpot) over medium heat.
Add the lamb shanks and half of the chopped onion to the pot.
Brown the lamb shanks on all sides.
Use tongs to remove the shanks to a plate and set them aside.

Add the remaining chopped onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot.
Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the vegetables soften.
Season the mixture with salt and pepper.  Raise the heat to high, add the wine and deglaze the pot.  Return the lamb shanks to the pot along with the beef and chicken broth and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 2 hours.  Turn the shanks a few times during cooking.
The meat should be tender when pierced with a fork.

Transfer the lamb shanks to a dish, cover and refrigerate.
Transfer the sauce to a container and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

With a spoon, remove any accumulated fat from the surface of the sauce.
Return the sauce to the stockpot and bring to a simmer.
Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to reduce it slightly.

In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of flour with the water.
Slowly stir the mixture into the sauce in the stockpot; the sauce will begin to thicken.  Return the lamb shanks to the pot, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
Serve each lamb shank over some Tuscan-Style Beans and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Tuscan-Style Cannellini Beans

(Serves 6 to 8)

This recipe will make more beans than you will need for 4 servings.
You can refrigerate or freeze the extra beans for later use.


1 pound dried cannellini beans
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 fresh sage leaves
3-4 whole black peppercorns
Salt and pepper


Sort through the beans, discarding any small stones. 
Rinse beans under cold water.  Put beans in a large glass or ceramic bowl.
Cover the beans with three times their volume of cold water and set aside, covered, to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight

Drain the beans. Place the beans in a large stockpot.  Add enough water so that the beans are covered with at least 1-inch of water.  Add 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, sage, and peppercorns to the pot.  Cover the stockpot, and bring to a simmer.  Cook the beans for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.   Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly.
If they are not yet tender, continue cooking, checking them at 15 minute intervals.  It is difficult to give exact cooking times for beans because a lot depends on the age of the beans.

Drain the beans and season them with salt and pepper.  The conventional wisdom about salting beans is that salt toughens the skins as they cook.  So it is best to add salt at the end of the cooking time. Drizzle the beans with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
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Lamb shanks that are fall-off-the-bone tender are served with cannellini beans for a delicious, hearty Tuscan meal.  We like to cook the lamb shanks until they are tender and then refrigerate them and the sauce for a few hours so that some of the excess fat that accumulates can be removed.  If you prefer not to do this step, you can leave it out and proceed with making the sauce as soon as the shanks are tender.
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