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Marcella Hazan's Ossobuco in Bianco



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“Marcella Hazan is a national treasure…No one has ever done
more to spread the gospel of pure Italian cookery in America.”

~ Craig Claiborne

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La Belle Cuisine


Ossobuco in Bianco -
Tomato-Less Braised Veal Shanks

Essentials of
Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan, 1993, Alfred A. Knopf


“Ossobuco, ‘oss bus’ in Milan’s dialect, means ‘bone with a hole.’
The particular bone in question is that of a calf’s hind shank, and
the ring of meat that circles it is the sweetest and most tender on the
entire animal. To be sure that it is as meltingly tender on the plate
as Nature had intended, be guided by the following suggestions:

  • Insist that the shank come from the meatier hind leg only. If you are buying it in a supermarket and are in doubt, look for one of the butchers who is usually on hand during the day, and ask him.

  • Have the ossobuco cut no thicker than 1 1/2 inches. It is the size at which it cooks best. Thick Ossobuco, however impressive it looks on the plate, rarely cooks long and slowly enough, and it usually ends up being chewy and stringy.

  • Make sure the butcher does not remove the skin enveloping the shanks. It
    not only helps to hold the ossobuco together while it cooks, but its creamy consistency makes a delectable contribution to the final flavor of the dish.

  • Be prepared to give ossobuco time enough to cook. Slow, patient cooking
    is essential if you want to protect the shank’s natural juiciness.

Note: When you are buying a whole shank, ask the butcher to saw off both
ends for you. You don’t want them in the ossobuco because they don’t have
much meat, but they make a splendid addition to the assorted components
of a homemade meat broth.

“The light-handed and delicately fragrant ossobuco of this recipe is quite
different from the robust Milanese version. The tomato and vegetables
and herbs of the traditional preparation are absent, and it is cooked in
the slow Italian pan-roasted style, entirely on top of the stove."

For 6 to 8 servings

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Eight 1 1/2-inch-thick slices of veal hind
shank, each tied tightly around the middle
Flour, spread on a plate
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons lemon peel with none
of the white pith beneath it, chopped
very fine
5 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Choose a large sauté pan than can subsequently accommodate all the shanks snugly without overlapping. (If you do not have a single pan
that broad, use two, dividing the butter and oil in half, then adding 1
tablespoon of each for each pan.) Put in the oil and butter, and turn
on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam begins to subside,
turn the shanks in the flour, coating them on both sides, shake off
the excess flour, and slip them into the pan.
2. Brown the meat deeply on both sides, then sprinkle with salt and
several grindings of pepper, turn the shanks, and add the wine.
Adjust heat to cook at a very slow simmer, and cover the pan,
setting the lid slightly ajar.
3. After 10 minutes or so, look into the pan to see if the liquid has
become insufficient to continue cooking. If, as is likely, this is
the case, add 1/3 cup warm water. Check the pan from time to
time, and add more water as needed. The total cooking time will
come to 2 or 2 1/2 hours: The shanks are done when the meat
comes easily away from the bone and is tender enough to be cut
with a fork. When done, transfer the veal to a warm plate, using
a slotted spoon or spatula.
4. Add the chopped lemon peel and parsley to the pan, turn the heat
up to medium, and stir for about 1 minute with a wooden spoon,
loosening cooking residues from the bottom and sides, and reduc-
ing any runny juices in the pan. Return the shanks to the pan, turn
them briefly in the juices, then transfer the entire contents of the
pan to a warm platter and serve at once.

Ahead-of-time note: The light, fragrant flavor of this particular ossobuco
does not withstand refrigeration well, so it is not advisable to prepare it
very long in advance. It can certainly be made early on the day it is to
be served; reheat it in the pan it was cooked in, covered, over low heat,
for 10 or 15 minutes until the meat is warmed all the way through. If
the juices in the pan become insufficient, replenish with 1 or 2 table-
spoons water.


Featured Archive Recipes:
Marcella's Ossobuco Milanese Style
Braised Veal with Fresh Pasta
Braised Veal Shanks with Tomato,
White Beans and Basil

Osso Buco with Mushroom Sauce 
Rosemary Braised Veal Shank
(Daniel Boulud)

Veal Braised in the Old-Fashioned Way

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