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How to Make an Authentic Osso Buco: Recipe, Tips and Calories

How to Make Osso Buco: Recipe, Tricks and Calories

Osso Buco is a celebrated dish from the Lombardy region of Italy, where Milan serves as the cultural and culinary heart. The name “Osso Buco” translates to “bone with a hole,” a reference to the marrow-filled shin bone at the center of this sumptuous dish. Originating as a peasant dish, it has been elevated to a staple of fine Italian dining, loved for its rich flavors and tender meat.

Traditionally made with veal shanks, Osso Buco is slowly braised with white wine, vegetables, and broth until the meat is so tender it nearly melts in your mouth. The marrow, considered a delicacy, adds a luxurious richness to the sauce that envelops the meat. This dish is a beautiful example of how Italian cooking expertly combines simple ingredients to create deep, complex flavors.

A key component of Osso Buco is the gremolata—a garnish of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley—that is sprinkled on top before serving. This adds a burst of freshness and helps to cut through the richness of the dish, balancing the flavors with its citrusy and herbal notes.

Osso Buco is traditionally served with risotto alla Milanese, another Lombard specialty, where the creamy, saffron-infused risotto complements the rich and hearty veal. This combination not only enhances the dining experience but also reflects the harmony and depth of Milanese culinary traditions.

Through this guide, we will explore the steps to crafting a perfect Osso Buco, from preparing the shanks to mastering the slow-braising technique that defines this beloved dish. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a curious cook, this recipe will bring a taste of Milan into your kitchen, promising a delightful experience for your palate.

Ingredients List in Making an Osso Buco

How to Make Osso Buco: Recipe, Tricks and Calories

Primary Ingredients:

  • Veal Shanks: 4 large veal shanks (about 1 inch thick), each tied with kitchen string
  • White Onion: 1 large, finely chopped
  • Carrots: 2, peeled and diced
  • Celery Stalks: 2, diced
  • Garlic Cloves: 3, minced

Braising Liquid:

  • Dry White Wine: 1 cup
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes: 14 oz can, including juices
  • Beef Broth: 2 cups (vegetable broth can be substituted for a lighter flavor)

For the Gremolata:

  • Lemon Zest: From 1 lemon
  • Fresh Garlic: 2 cloves, finely minced
  • Fresh Parsley: ¼ cup, finely chopped


  • All-purpose Flour: For dusting the veal shanks
  • Butter and Olive Oil: For browning the veal
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste

Equipment Needed for Your Osso Buco Recipe

How to Make Osso Buco: Recipe, Tricks and Calories
  • Dutch Oven or Sturdy Pot: Suitable for both browning and slow cooking
  • Tongs: For handling hot meat
  • Grater or Zester: For preparing lemon zest
  • Mixing Bowls: For mixing gremolata

Preparation Overview

  1. Preparation of Ingredients: Chop vegetables, tie veal shanks, and prepare gremolata ingredients.
  2. Browning the Meat: Dust veal with flour and sear until golden brown.
  3. Building the Sauce: Sauté vegetables, deglaze with wine, then add tomatoes and broth.
  4. Slow Cooking: Return veal to pot, cover, and simmer until tender.
  5. Finishing Touches: Prepare and add gremolata before serving.

Detailed Step-by-Step Recipe

How to Make Osso Buco: Recipe, Tricks and Calories

Step 1: Prepare the Veal

  • Season and flour veal shanks lightly, ensuring they are coated but not overly dusty.
  • Heat butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear shanks on all sides until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.

Step 2: Vegetable Base

  • Reduce to medium heat. In the same pot, add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.

Step 3: Deglaze and Simmer

  • Increase heat to medium-high, add white wine, and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes with juices and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  • Return veal shanks to the pot, ensuring they are submerged. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Step 4: Gremolata and Serving

  • Combine lemon zest, minced garlic, and chopped parsley in a small bowl.
  • Once the meat is tender, sprinkle gremolata over the Osso Buco just before serving.

Serving Suggestions

How to Make Osso Buco Recipe Tricks and Calories 2

Ideal over creamy polenta, risotto alla Milanese, or mashed potatoes to enjoy the rich sauce.

Nutritional Information (approximate per serving)

  • Calories: 600
  • Fat: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 50g

Additional Tips and Variations

  • Tip for Tenderness: Cook on the lowest heat to ensure the meat becomes tender without drying out.
  • Wine Selection: A robust white wine like Pinot Grigio works well in this recipe.
  • Herb Variations: Thyme or bay leaves can be added to the braising liquid for an aromatic twist.

FAQs on Osso Buco Cooking

  • Can Osso Buco be made ahead?
    • Absolutely, it tastes even better the next day as the flavors deepen.
  • What if I can’t find veal shanks?
    • Beef shanks can be used as a substitute, although the cooking time may need to be adjusted slightly.
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