This classic Italian braised veal shanks Osso Bucco is real comfort food with fork-tender meat bathed in a luxurious and flavorful tomato red wine sauce. Then it’s topped off with a bright lemon garlic and parsley mixture for an amazing flavorful finish. A restaurant-quality dish perfect for special dinners at home all year round!
What is Osso Bucco?
This veal Osso Bucco recipe may not quite be “the classic” version as it uses tomatoes, but I can promise you that its added acidic sweetness makes our red wine sauce even exquisitely delicious.
And instead of going with the usual white wine, I opted for a bolder red wine to add depth in color and richness to our sauce.
The meat is cooked first on the stovetop for a few minutes and then slowly braised in a tomato-wine-based sauce in the oven for that delicate fork-tender meat that makes all the angels in heaven sing.
What is Osso Bucco?
Osso Bucco or as some would spell it Ossobuco is a fancier term for “bone with a hole”. Often made with veal shanks, that marrow found in the hole of the bone makes this braised dish a prized delicacy.
It is rich and tastes as good as the meat as it tenderizes; making everyone just want to slurp it up.
This dish is right on my top shelf along with Guinness Beef Stew and this Jamaican Oxtail Stew.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes
The ingredients list for this Osso Bucco recipe is quite long but don’t worry coz’ they are all basic kitchen pantry staples. And they are all affordable and easily accessible to your local grocery store. This recipe includes:
- Beef Shanks or Veal – Traditionally, Osso Bucco is made with veal (meat from the young calf) but you can totally make this with beef, pork, and lamb too. And if you’re not a fan of meat with strong flavors like beef, veal, and lamb, you can just opt for the pork osso bucco recipe instead. I strongly suggest using the cut with the bones coz that’s what makes this dish full of rich flavor.
- Flour – We’re going to coat our meat with a little bit of flour so it won’t shrink as much while searing.
- Cooking Oil – Feel free to use any cooking oil you prefer. We need the oil so the butter won’t easily burn. You can also check out How to Dispose of Cooking Oil for future reference. 😉
- Butter – Any comfort food tastes better with butter. Agree? That irresistible buttery flavor always takes any dish up a notch.
- Onion and Garlic – My favorite part in cooking is getting high with the wonderful aroma of onion and garlic being sauteed in butter. So fragrant! Check out the complete guide on How to Cut Onions and How to Mince Garlic here.
- Carrots – I especially love it with carrots. The natural sweetness of carrots undeniably complements the overall taste of this osso bucco beef.
- Celery Stalks – This aromatic vegetable is pretty popular among stew, soup, and salad. It gives this osso bucco nice bold flavors with an earthy note.
- Thyme and Rosemary – Their minty flavor profiles match perfectly our osso bucco recipe adding exceptional herby flavors you’ll surely love. 😉 You can also check Thyme Substitutes here.
- Italian Seasoning – You don’t need to go for a quick grocery run if you don’t have this on hand. You can just make your own with my Homemade Italian Seasoning here. Or you can just add basil and/or oregano and that will do the trick.
- Red Wine – The addition of wine intensifies and enhances the flavor of meat in this dish. It adds an inviting aroma, too. Don’t worry about the alcohol content as it will evaporate as it cooks. Just omit this if you’re making vegan osso bucco. If you’re after the authenticity of this recipe, feel free to use white wine instead.
- Bay Leaf – This herb has a subtle flavor yet it gives flavor accent to our meaty stew as well.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes – I prefer canned diced tomatoes when making osso bucco. I just love munching on the chunky diced tomatoes rather than just plain tomatoes. But of course, feel free to use tomato sauce if that’s what you prefer.
- Tomato Paste – This will make our sauce base thicker and richer without the need for slurry and roux.
- Beef Broth – This adds more beefy flavor to our osso bucco while adding rich umami flavors as well. Yum! Beef, pork, or chicken bouillon powder are great substitutes, too. But you’ll need to add more water.
- Salt and Pepper – These two basic seasonings gives flavor boost to any dish.
- Parsley – Besides its decorative purposes, it also adds refreshing minty flavor notes to this osso bucco.
- Garlic – The fresh garlic will add exceptional fragrance and flavor to the gremolata.
- Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice – This will give your gremolata a refreshingly bright and citrusy flavor plus a revitalizing zing with bits of lemon zest!
- Salt and Pepper – Without these two seasoning, our gremolata will taste bland and flat.
- Vegan – Yes! And it’s totally possible with mushrooms! Portobello, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms are the best meat substitutes for this osso bucco coz’ they have a chewy and meaty texture. Common mushroom and canned mushroom will work just fine, too. And of course, use coconut oil or vegan butter and vegetable stock to make it completely vegan. 😉
- Nutrition-Packed – You can add more veggies like bell pepper, potatoes, green peas, and beans for a nutrition-packed fully loaded meal. Enjoying a nice meal while reaping all the health benefits. Yaay for a double win!
- Flavor-Packed – Add Mexican flavors with a dash of Taco Seasoning. Or make it an Indian-inspired dish with the addition of curry powder. And of course, my all-time favorite Creole Seasoning to add a deeper and bolder Cajun flavor. Wow!
- Fiery Hot – Serrano pepper, jalapenos, scotch bonnet peppers are some of my favorite additions. Oooh! Really smokin’ hot! And if you want to add just the right amount of heat that is not too overpowering, the best bets will be sprinkles of cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, and some splash of hot sauce.
- Tropical Twist – Pineapples! Oh yes! You’ll surely gonna love the added flavor combinations of sweet and tart to our ozzo bucco. It’s really out-of-this-world delicious. 😉
- Cook the osso bucco as instructed. Let it cool completely before transferring into a clean and dry sealed container. You can also keep it in the same pan with a lid so you can reheat it right away on the stovetop or in the oven.
- Refrigerate – Make ahead osso bucco can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freeze – Can maintain its best quality for 2-3 months in the freezer if properly stored.
- Thaw – When ready to serve, just thaw the frozen osso bucco overnight inside the fridge. This is the safest way to prevent bacteria growth.
- Stove – Reheat on medium-low, covered. Occasionally stir to prevent sticking at the bottom of the pan.
- Oven – Cover the oven-safe dish or pan with foil. Reheat in the preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Add more broth if the meat is a little dry.
NOTE: Do the same in storing and reheating leftover osso bucco.
Osso Bucco is traditionally made with veal but can be easily substituted with beef shanks. The veal has quite a delicate and sweeter flavor compared to the stronger meaty flavor of beef.
It has a savory and rich meaty taste from the broth and the veal or beef shank. You’ll also love the right amount of tartness from the tomato-based sauce with a distinct taste of various herbs. Plus, the fragrant and subtle taste of wine in the background.
Yes! And it’s the best part of eating this dish. There’s even a special spoon you can use to get the deepest bone marrow and it’s called esattore or marrow spoon.
What to Eat with Osso Bucco?
Traditionally, Osso Buco is served with a Risotto ala Milanese (check my Mushroom Risotto HERE, too), but you can enjoy this served with any of these recipes below.
More Italian Dishes
How to Make Osso Bucco
Searing the Veal Shanks
- Preheat oven 350 Degrees F.
- Tie each veal with kitchen twine – Pat dry beef or veal shanks with a paper towel and then tie kitchen twine around each veal shank so that veal will hold shape while cooking. (Photo 1)
- Coat with flour – Season with salt and pepper. Lightly coat each beef shank with flour, shake off any excess flour. Set aside.
- Sear the shanks – In a large cast-iron or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sear the shanks in the hot oil, turning to brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. (Photo 2)
Sauteeing the Veggies
- Saute – Add butter, as soon as butter melts – add onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, rosemary, celery, and Italian seasoning to the same pan and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant and onions are wilted – about 5 minutes. (Photo 3)
- Pour in the wine and add bay leaf – Continue cooking for about 3 minutes. (Photo 4)
Making the Tomato-Based Sauce
- Add canned tomatoes and tomato paste – Continue cooking for about 5 minutes. (Photos 5-6)
- Return the shanks back to the pot – Pour in the stock, bring to a boil. (Photos 7-8)
- Lightly season with salt and pepper – Remember you can adjust salt as you go halfway through cooking.
- Place in the oven – Turn off heat, cover. Place in preheated oven and cook for about 1 ½ – 2 hours, checking periodically to ensure there is enough liquid. If the liquid is too low, add enough broth or water to keep the level about halfway up the shanks.
- Check for doneness – Pierce shank with a fork. The meat should pull apart easily.
Making the Gremolata
- Transfer the shanks to a plate or serving platter – And proceed with making the gremolata. The gremolata can be made while osso buco is cooking.
- To make gremolata finely chop the parsley, add lemon zest and juice – Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Photos 9-10)
This blog post was first published in May 2020 and has been updated with an additional write-up.
- 4-5 large beef shanks or veal , trimmed
- 3 tablespoons (30 g) flour (for dusting)
- 2 tablespoons (28 ml) cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cup diced)
- 2 small carrots , finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3-4 cloves garlic , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 teaspoons (2 g) minced thyme
- 2 teaspoons (2 g) minced rosemary
- 2 celery stalks , finely diced (about 1 1/4 cup diced)
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) Italian seasoning
- 1 cup (240 ml) red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2-3 cups (480-720 ml) beef broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups (480 ml) water
- 1 cup (16 g) parsley , stems okay
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons (4 g) lemon zest
- juice from ½ -1 lemon (adjust to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven 350 Degrees F.
- Pat dry beef or veal shanks with paper towel and then tie kitchen twine around each veal shank so that veal will hold shape while cooking.
- Season with salt and pepper. Lightly coat each beef shank with flour, shake off any excess flour. Set aside.
- In a large cast iron or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sear the shanks in the hot oil, turning to brown all sides. Remove and set aside.
- Add butter, as soon as butter melts – add onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, rosemary, celery and Italian seasoning to the same pan and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant and onions are wilted – about 5 minutes.
- Pour in wine and add bay leaf, continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
- Add canned tomatoes and paste and continue cooking for about for about 5 minutes.
- Return the shanks back to the pot , pour in stock, bring to a boil.
- Lightly season with salt and pepper. Remember you can adjust salt as you go half -way through cooking.
- Turn off heat, cover. Place in preheated oven and cook for about 1 ½ – 2 hours, checking periodically to ensure there is enough liquid. If the liquid is too low, add enough broth or water to keep the level about halfway up the shanks.
- To check for doneness, pierce shank with a fork. The meat should pull apart easily.
- Transfer the shanks to a plate or serving platter and proceed with gremolata. The gremolata can be made while osso buco is cooking.
- To make gremolata finely chop the parsley, add lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.
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