Ossobuco is a recipe that goes back to the opening of my first restaurant, in 1971, and it was the favorite dish on the menu at Felidia in the 1980s. Combining good veal shanks with lots of vegetables and herbs, and simmering this for hours, results in fork-tender meat nestled in a complex and savory sauce.
Technique tip: Serve this dish with an espresso spoon-or, even better, a marrow spoon-so that your guests can scoop out the marrow, the ultimate delicacy.
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 4 cups chicken broth, or as needed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Four 1½-inch thick ossobuco, tied around the circumference
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch thick chunks
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 small oranges, 1 peeled with vegetable peeler, 1 zested
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1. Tie the bay leaves and rosemary together with a string. Pour the chicken broth into a small pot and keep it hot over low heat.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the ossobuco with the salt and pepper. Spread some flour on a plate. Dredge the ossobuco in the flour, tapping off the excess. When the oil is hot, add the ossobuco and brown on all sides, about 6-7 minutes in all. Remove them to a plate.
3. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the Dutch oven. Cook until the onion begins to soften, and all of the vegetables are caramelized, about 5 minutes. Clear a space in the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook and stir the tomato paste in that spot until it is toasted and darkened a bit, about 1 minute, then stir it into the vegetables. Add the wine and the herb package. Bring to a boil, and cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
4. Drop in the cloves and the orange peel (reserve the zest from the other orange for later). Return the ossobuco to the pot in one layer and pour enough chicken broth over the top that it almost, but not quite, covers the meat. Adjust heat so the liquid is simmering, cover, and cook until the ossobuco is tender, about 1 hour.
5. Once the meat is tender, uncover it, and remove the vegetable chunks to a platter. Put the ossobuco on top of the vegetables. Discard the package of bay leaves and rosemary. Bring the liquid in the Dutch oven to a boil, and cook it down until saucy, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the strings from the ossobuco. Pour the sauce through a strainer directly over them on the platter, pressing on any remaining vegetable solids with a wooden spoon. Stir together the orange zest and parsley, sprinkle over the shanks and serve.