Uncle Sidney’s Osso Bucco
Comfort food. These two words evoke memories in all of us. The very thought of comfort food evokes some time in our childhood, home cooking being one of the every-day events we took for granted in the moment, but now, looking backward, there was nothing more dependable, more calming, more … Zen…than Mom seeing a downturned head and responding, that night, with our comfort food. Just when things were looking difficult, Mom (or sometimes Dad) managed to brighten our day.
We each have our own definition of comfort food. I have a real soft spot for really good osso bucco–my uncle Sidney used to make it for us all the time when I was young. It was dependable. It was saucy. It was warm, and came with potatoes, or noodles, or rice, or some other yummy carb there for the express purpose of soaking up all that wonderful gravy.
We rarely, if ever, eat meat in our house any more–okay, we do eat poultry, and just above you can see our chicken replacement, but truth is, it’s not the real thing. If I were to make it now, I would use Uncle Sid’s recipe, and here’s how I would do it…
Osso Buco Milanese
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 pieces veal shank with bone, cut 3 inches thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 cup dry Marsala
2 cups veal or chicken stock
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Saffron Risotto, recipe follows
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 orange
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
In a large shallow platter, season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal shanks in the mixture and tap off any excess. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, over medium flame, heat the oil and butter. Sear the shanks on all sides, turn bones on sides to hold in marrow. Add more oil and butter if needed. Remove the browned veal shanks and set aside.
Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves and parsley to the pan and cook until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high, add the wine and deglaze the pan. Return the shanks to the pan, add the stock and tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender. Baste the meat a few times during cooking. Remove the cover, continue to simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.
For gremolata: combine all ingredients together in a small bowl. Strew the gremolata over the osso buco before serving. Serve osso buco with Saffron Risotto.
8 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio rice
3 pinches saffron threads
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat.
In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add oil and rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat each grain. When rice begins to make a crackling sound, add saffron threads. Add 1 cup of the warm chicken broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. Test the rice for doneness, it should be al dente but creamy. Remove risotto from heat, add grated cheese, salt and pepper. Serve at once with Osso Buco Milanese.