I don’t make rich meals like this often but when I saw these veal shanks at the market, I couldn’t resist.
Neither osso bucco nor risotto are in my repertoire. I’ve made both at some time in my cooking life, but I couldn’t tell you when. I guess I could have checked some online recipes, but there’s no fun in that for me. I love to wing it. And I’m happy to share the results because they were fantastic. With all due respect, and modesty aside, I don’t think Mario. Lydia or Giada could have done better though, truth told, I’ve undoubtedly been influenced by them over the years. It’s good to know the many hours I spend watching celebrity chefs duke it out has trickled down to the betterment of the FOODalogue kitchen.
There are 3 things that make osso bucco special:
slow braised, fork-tender, fall-off-the bone meat;
the unctuous marrow;
and the sauce/gravy.
And, you know I always add Finishing Touches … so, let’s make that 4 things!
Finish with a gremolota topping of freshly chopped parsley, red chili flakes, lemon and orange zest and a drop or two of the orange juice. It adds a little zing and freshness to an otherwise rich and deeply-flavored dish.
TIP: As to #3, I always puree the vegetables (or most of them, especially the aromatics) with the pot juices to create a sauce. Doing this with a Magic Bullet (as I do) or an immersion blender or food processor emulsifies, unifies and intensifies everything, plus there’s no need for a thickener.
[See recipe below.]
The sauteed and pureed fennel was delicious. (I highly recommend it!) I had to stop myself from eating it by the spoonful for fear there wouldn’t be any left for the risotto. However, I was disappointed that such a delicious puree got lost. I suspect it’s because the osso bucco and sauce were too powerful. I’ll try it again perhaps with something more delicate like peas or asparagus or grilled shrimp.
Recipe for Fennel Risotto: Chop 1/2 fennel bulb and saute on medium-low in butter and olive oil until soft. Season, puree and set aside. Start risotto by lightly sauteing minced garlic and leek in a mix of olive oil and butter. Add rice and coat. Slowly start adding liquid (warm broth) a little at a time till absorbed. Fold in fennel puree about 1/2 way through. Finish with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (or your favorite grating cheese) and fennel fronds for decoration.