I felt the need to repost this, since I last posted it in 2010.  Just made this again last night – almost exactly the same circumstances – fire going, cold….. Lynne was in NYC all day, and wanted a tasty dinner, and a toasty, awesome smelling house for her to come home to!  Also, this dish is the homework for my cooking basics 101 class at work….. anyway, here it is!

 Boy, do I love this time of year in New England – cold outside, nice toasty fire going inside – and all day to cook!  The only thing missing is a little snow! 

Roaring Fire – an Osso Buco Essential!

Definitely time to make the first Osso Buco of the season!  My wife and I love this dish  –  not only because it tastes awesome, but boy does it make the house smell great as it simmers. It is a great winter dish to make. (Ok, I have to admit I cheated and we made it back in August – what can I say – I like it!)  Many people don’t know what it is, or have only seen it on restaurant menus – usually pretty expensive on those menus as well!  Osso Buco is essentially a veal stew, and is an Italian staple:– chunks of tender meat and an amazing tomato based broth, with heavy accents of lemon and parsley – totally savory!  It is served on its own, or over a variety of pasta, rice – or in my case, creamy risotto.
This is a very time consuming dish to make – takes a good 3 hours – but it is very simple technically – mostly just chopping and dicing.  For me, though, the prep is half the fun.

The Freddy Kruger method of chopping parsley –
Takes two knives about the same size
and its twice as fast!

 One tip – dice the garlic zest the lemons and chop the parsley ahead of time, then make the tomato paste.  Start the meat cooking, then you can dice the onions, celery and carrots while the meat simmers.  I usually do at least 5 lemons for the gremolata – I sprinkle some zest and parsley in with the meat as it simmers.  Take your time, and plan it out.  Start the risotto about half an hour before you are ready to serve.  I use a whisk when I make it, and stir constantly – that is the key to a smooth, creamy risotto!

Any way, here is the recipe for both the Osso Buco and the Risotto:

The Calm Before the Storm!

Buon Appetito!

Four good size Veal shanks
½ cup flour
½ tsp Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup red wine 
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth
5 or 6 cloves garlic, diced small (set aside in small bowl)
½ tsp fresh basil
½ tsp thyme
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, minced (set aside about ¾ of a cup)
2 tbs tomato paste
2 onions, chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
4 lemons, zested (keep aside)
(the following can be done while broth is cooking)
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tbs diced celery leaves
Gremolata – YUMM!!

Gremolata mix:

3 cloves minced fresh garlic ( or the balance from above)
2 tbs Lemon Zest (balance from above)
¼ cup or so minced parsley
mix thoroughly

Mix salt pepper and garlic powder with flour on flat plate.  Dredge veal shanks in flour, brown over med high heat in oil and butter in a large stock pot, or 6qt saute pan.  Lower heat, and slowly add water and chicken broth, stirring to scrape the bits up and deglaze the pan.  Add red wine ( make sure to use a wine you would drink – not cooking wine)  Bring to a simmer.

Simmer for several hours – the longer the better!

Crush about 3 cloves of diced garlic, basil, thyme, and a pinch (about a tsp) of parsley into a paste.  blend with tomato paste (enjoy THAT smell……!)  Add mixture to the simmering broth, with the chopped onions, can of tomatoes (including the water) and about  ½ of the lemon zest (should be about 2 tbs or so)  Cover and  simmer on med low at LEAST two hours – till meat is falling off the bone. Stir occasionally.  After about 1.5 hours, add carrots, celery and celery leaves. Simmer for another hour or so… the longer it simmers, the better it tastes!

Serve over Risotto, topped by Gremolata.  Serve with a hearty red Italian wine

The Finished Product – mmmmmm

Fool Proof Risotto
1 Shallot minced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs butter
1 large can chix broth
3/4 cup Risotto rice
About 40 minutes of uninterrupted stove time, stirring!

Stir till liquid is absorbed
In a 3 qt sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter, and sauté garlic and shallots till translucent – do NOT brown! Add rice, stirring CONSTANTLY for about 2 minutes, till liquid is absorbed – again, do NOT burn!   A wisking tip – hold it like a pen, and use wrist action to stir in tight circles…. MUCH easier.
Time to add liquid
Finished consistancy
Add chicken broth about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly with a wisk.  Only add more liquid when the prior batch is almost completely absorbed.  Should take about ¾ of the can, and about 40 minutes.  The trick to this is to stir CONSTANTLY – and only ad the liquid a little at a time. 
As it gets really creamy, taste occasionally to check doneness – should be firm, but not crunchy.

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