Today I asked Don if he wanted Osso Buco for dinner and his enthusiastic reply was, ‘Oh, yeah! I will get us a nice bottle of red wine to go with it’ What a guy! So, that is what dinner will be tonight.
Osso Buco originated in Milan where veal shank is traditionally used in the preparation. The name, Osso Buco is Italian for bone with a hole in it which refers to the marrow hole at the center of the cross-cut veal shank. However, seeing as I do not ‘do’ veal and Don loves lamb I prepare Osso Buco with lamb shanks. It is braised in the oven with vegetables, garlic, wine and herbs. The finished lamb shank is delicious with tender, falling-off-the bone tastiness in a rich flavorful sauce.
When I was growing up lamb was not something that my mom prepared as my dad preferred beef. I had not experienced the great pleasure of the taste of lamb until I was married and my good friend, Kathy, invited us for dinner and prepared leg of lamb. I was hooked!! Lamb in some form finds its way to our table quite often.
I have had this served to me in several restaurants with either pasta, mashed potatoes or polenta. My personal favorite is the polenta and when I make it I add freshly grated parmesan cheese to it. Enjoy!
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
- 2 large meaty lamb shanks (approx. 1½ pounds each)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cube butter
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
- 4 carrots 8” long, coarsely chopped
- 4 stalks of celery 8” long, coarsely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups good red wine
- One 14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups beef stock (homemade if possible otherwise canned)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a heavy bottomed oven proof pan or dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Season the lamb shanks liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook them until browned on all sides, turning frequently. Transfer the lamb shanks onto a plate and set aside while preparing the vegetables and sauce.
- In the same pan add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté over medium heat until softened, stirring often so that it does not burn. Adjust heat if necessary.
- Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, rosemary, thyme and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and add the reserved lamb shanks. Cover with a heavy lid, transfer to the oven and braise for 2 hours. Remove the lid after 1½ hours and continue to roast the additional 30 minutes until the lamb is very tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened up a little.
- Divide the lamb shanks into four shallow dishes with some of the sauce spooned over the top and along side of the lamb.