With Matthew and Frances now back home, I have time to write up some of the things I made for their visit. For Shabbat, I made an Osso Bucco served over polenta. Traditionally it is served with Risotto Milanese, but I’m partial to polenta and not bound by tradition. You will need to find good veal shanks with lots of delicious marrow for this. The preparation is not very difficult, and it does make for a lovely presentation and a very satisfying meal. If there is any left-over sauce, you can always use it up with pasta or to enrich the sauce I made for another meal that I will post later in the week. I wish I could say that veal shanks were an inexpensive cut of meat, but unfortunately they are not. That could be why I save them for a special occasion like Matthew and Frances’ visit.
Yield: 4 servings
4 veal shanks, each weighing about 10 ounces
flour (about 1/3 of a cup), generously seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and dried thyme for dredging
3 Tablespoons EVOO
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds about 1/4 inch thick
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
2/3 cup dry white wine
28 ounces whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes and their liquid
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
For the Gremolata
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
Zest from one large lemon
1/4 cup of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Put the flour and seasoning in a heavy-duty plastic bag and add the veal shanks. Closing the bag, shake the veal shanks to coat with seasoned flour. Carefully remove the shanks, one at a time and shake off any excess flour.
- In a heavy-duty Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and brown the meat quickly on high heat to seal the juices. Don’t worry about bits of flour that may stick. When the meat is browned, transfer it to a plate and hold to the side.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaves to the pan and lower the heat. Saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil, allowing the liquid to reduce by half and burning off the alcohol. Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and mix through. They will add flavor and depth to the sauce.
- Add the tomatoes, their juice, the tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and replace the meat in a single layer in the pan. Cover the Dutch oven tightly and simmer gently for 1.5 hours or until the meat is very tender but still on the bone.
- In the meantime, mix the ingredients of the Gremolata together and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- Carefully lift out the meat and keep on a plate that is covered with foil. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables, eaving some texture. Check your seasoning, adding a bit more thyme, Kosher salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the shanks on a bed of risotto or polenta, with plenty of sauce. Top with some Gremolata. I like lots! Any leftover Gremolata is wonderful with eggs.