Tastes from Sunny Italy on a Gloomy Fall Day (Osso Buco, Risotto)

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It’s a typically gloomy November day…. rainy, damp, cool.  The perfect kind of day to bring the sunny tastes of Italy to the table: Osso Buco Milanese, Saffron Risotto, Gremolata.


I personally don’t like my Osco Buco too “tomato-y”.  I want the flavors of the gremolata to jump and I don’t like overwhelming the delicate flavor of the Saffron Risotto.  This recipe using tomato paste and a touch of Crème Fraiche to provide a delicate, light flavor.  I also add a touch of anchovy paste for umami – don’t worry, there is nothing fishy about this dish. – Make it Sham Style!

Osso Buco

4 – 6 veal shanks

1 tbsp grape seed oil

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 large carrot finely chopped (or 2 smaller ones)

1 stalk of celery finely chopped

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 tbsp of anchovy paste

2 tbsp of tomato paste

2 sprigs of rosemary

4 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

2 cups of veal or low sodium chicken stock

1 bottle of dry white wine

1/4 crème fraiche

1 package baby spinach wilted

Equipment: Cast Enamel Dutch Oven, cheese cloth

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.  On a plate, mix the salt, pepper and paprika.  Dry veal shanks with paper towel. Season the veal shanks with the salt and pepper mixture.  Heat Grape Seed Oil in a 10 inch cast iron Dutch oven over high heat until it glistens.  Sear the veal shanks until they have turned golden brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate.  Add chopped carrots, celery and onion and lower the heat to med-low.  Cook until onions and celery are translucent.  Turn heat to medium and add anchovy paste and the tomato paste.  Stir continuously until any liquid is evaporated.

Turn up heat to high and add wine.  Heat until wine starts to bubble.  Add chicken/veal stock.  Bring to a simmer.  Cut a square pièce of cheese cloth and create a bouquet garni with the rosemary, thyme and garlic.  Add the bouquet garni to the liquid.   Add veal shanks and any accumulated juices back to the Dutch oven.  Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and move to the pre-heated oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  If the liquid evaporates too much, add 1/2 more chicken/veal stock.  Meanwhile, prepare Risotto (see recipe below).   Remove Osso Buco from the oven.  Gently remove veal shanks and place on aluminum foil, add a 1/4 cup of juices and wrap tightly.  Remove bouquet garni.  Simmer the sauce in the dutch oven on the stove while Risotto cooks in the oven.  When Risotto is ready, add the crème fraiche to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Add veal shanks to dutch oven, turn temperature to medium and heat through.  Serve with risotto and gremolata (see recipes below).


2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped finely

1 1/4 cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tbsp. saffron threads

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Add olive oil to a 13 inch skillet and heat on medium high until the oil shimmers.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add rice and sauté until the rice is translucent and no longer white.  Turn the temperature to high and add wine.  Simmer for 6-8 minutes until wine is partially evaporated.  Add the saffron, salt and pepper.  Add the 2 1/4 cups of the chicken/vegetable stock and simmer for an additional 8 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate.  Pour the risotto into an oven safe casserole dish.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Set aside.  Once the Osco Buco has been removed from the oven, increase the temperature to 375 degrees.  Cook the risotto in the oven for 30-35 minutes.  Add remaining chicken/vegetable stock and parmesan cheese right before serving.


1 clove garlic

3 tbsp very finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 tsp orange zest

1/4 tsp sea salt

Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic until it is a paste.  Remove to bowl and gently stir in all of the other ingredients.  Serve on top of Osco Buco.

To Plate:

Wilt spinach in sauté pan.

Place wilted spinach in a round on a plate.  Top with a mound of risotto and shape.  Gently place a veal shank on top of the risotto.  Gently pour some sauce over top and sprinkle with gremolata.

Enjoy with lots of red wine!

Recipes written and tested by Suzanne Battiston

Created on my Microsoft Surface RT with the purple backlit keyboard.