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Veal Osso Bucco and Fennel Risotto

August 19, 2012 by Joan Nova in Finishing Touches, Italian, Meat, Recipe Development, Rice/Risotto | 16 Comments

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.]


I’m a big fan of fennel and I’m big fan of pureeing vegetables to create sauces (see #3 above) but this time, metaphorically speaking, the operation was a success but the patient died.

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.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Osso Bucco
Serves: 2
  • 2 veal shanks
  • 2 carrots minced
  • 1 leek minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 grape tomatoes chopped
  • 1/c cup reconstituted exotic mushrooms
  • 6 medium sized button mushrooms sliced
  • herbs: rosemary, thyme, Italian parsley
  • 1-2 tbl tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or use Worcestershire Sauce)
  • 1 cup (est) chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry wine
  • olive oil
How To
  1. Season and dredge veal shank in seasoned flour.
  2. Sear and brown in hot and heavy pot.
  3. Remove meat and set aside.
  4. Add chopped and minced vegetables.
  5. Cook on medium until they begin to caramelize.
  6. Return shanks and raise heat.
  7. Add liquids, herbs and reconstituted mushrooms.
  8. Cover and cook on low for about 1 hour.
  9. Add fresh mushrooms and cook for about another ½ hour until meat is fork tender.
1. To make sauce, remove most of vegetables and about 1 cup of pot juices and puree. 2. Don't forget the Finishing Touches, noted above.


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. bellini says:

    As soon as I heard you mention fennel risotto I knew I would be making it at some point. I am waiting patiently for the fennel from garden. It just sounds so comforting with the osso bucco.

  2. I can’t resist veal shanks when I see them either. Love Osso Bucco, but don’t make it often enough. Do I see lemon zest as a garnish? What a great idea.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Heirloom Tomato Tart – two different versionsMy Profile

  3. liz says:

    Looks great. I am salivating.

  4. Very nice Joan, and I am smelling the wonderful aroma right now because it is on our menu tonight.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Just Weeds and Water LilliesMy Profile

  5. You should have frozen the meat and then wait for me to get there to make this. I am dying here…there is one thing that I love is slow cooked fall of the bone meat and you did this perfectly and I am defnitely trying the risotto recipe…Bravo!
    Platanos Mangoes & Me! recently posted..ROPA VIEJA – OLD CLOTHESMy Profile

  6. Robin Sue says:

    Even better than the TV chefs! Is that spoon right in the unctuous marrow? Yum! A very pleasing dish and one that I will have to try this Fall.
    Robin Sue recently posted..Three Fun & Healthy Applesauce Snack IdeasMy Profile

  7. OH, Osso Bucco, how I love thee! And your version looks fabulous. Just fabulous. I love the idea of a fennel-flavored risotto, as well. My, my. Yum.

    I remember a very dear Pakistani friend shyly telling me while eating osso bucco at my flat in Bahrain, that her grandmother had long silver spoons designed specifically to extract the marrow from bones. How elegant. I love the idea…
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Cool Summer BorschtMy Profile

  8. I love the sound of the fennel risotto and the osso bucco too.
    Kitchen Butterfly recently posted..Friends For FoodMy Profile

  9. I seem to recall another one or two osso bucco posts from you, Joan. Me thinks a favourite dish of yours? And why not? Soooo good. Love your tip about the sauce. The risotto looks TO DIE FOR.

  10. Lori Lynn says:

    I have to make fennel risotto. Like the idea with shrimp…
    The images are mouthwatering!
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Limoncello Yogurt ParfaitMy Profile

  11. I think my taste buds went into over salivating mode! Osso bucco and fennel risotto??? Double jackpot! As a lover of fennel I’ve bookmarked this…thank you Joan.
    Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul recently posted..Crispy Pork Belly with Cauliflower CouscousMy Profile

  12. Drooling over your osso bucco! WOW!
    Laura @ Family Spice recently posted..Persian Yogurt with Cucumbers (Maast-o Khiar)My Profile

  13. Hi Joan,

    What a great osso bucco recipe and I just love the fennel risotto too! Thanks for being a part of the YBR:)
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Cinnamon Raisin Muffins and My Problems with BakingMy Profile

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