Traditional osso buco uses veal shanks. And veal shanks are not always easy to source in my part of the world. So, I use beef shank instead — preferably, from a not-so-mature animal.
In some meat shops, it is possible to choose the shank so that you can get pieces that are of the same size, more or less, and you can get the ones that look just right for a single portion.
However, if the only beef shanks available are rather large ones, you can roughly chop the meat and top the pasta with them. Not as sensational looking but just as delicious. And who gets the bone with the marrow can be negotiated or decided with a flip of the coin.
Osso buco pasta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large cross-cut bone-in beef shank or three small ones
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- ⅓ cup chopped celery
- ⅓ cup chopped carrot
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- bone broth
- cooked pasta for three
- grated Parmesan cheese
For the gremolata
- finely grated zest of one lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- In a pan wide enough to accommodate all pieces of beef shanks in a single layer, heat the olive oil and butter.
- Brown the beef shanks on all sides. Scoop up with a slotted spoon.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and oregano to the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, scraping the pan, for about a minute.
- Pour in the wine. Stir and scrape once more to loosen the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Allow to boil, uncovered, for about five minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Arrange the beef shanks in a single layer in the pan.
- Pour in enough broth to reach to about 3/4 of the height of the shanks.
- Season with more salt and pepper.
- Simmer for about hours hours or until the beef is fork tender. Make sure to check the amount of liquid as the beef simmers away. Add more broth, about half a cup at a time, if needed, and adjust the seasonings each time.
- While the beef simmers, make the gremolata by mixing together the grated lemon zest, three tablespoons of chopped parsley, two tablespoons of minced garlic and salt.
- When the meat is tender, scoop out the shanks carefully and keep hot.
- Pour the sauce into a strainer set over a large bowl. Using the back of a spoon, press as much of the soft vegetables through the strainer.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well.
- Ladle pasta into a plate or bowl and top with the osso buco.
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and gremolata.