Osso Buco

I could not imagine winter passing without the smell of Osso Buco permeating my house at least a few times during the season. Osso Buco is Italian for “bone with a hole” (osso bone, buco hole) and refers to the bone and marrow of the shank. When the best milk-fed veal is used and it is properly cooked, the resulting  osso buco will be extremely tender, falling away from the bone.

The most well-known preparation is  Osso Buco all Milanese where the shanks are served with a saffron risotto that has been cooked with some of the marrow. There are, however, endless ways to cook your osso buco and just as many delicious accompaniments. This version is the easiest you will find.

Flour, Olive Oil, White Wine, Garlic, Carrots, Mushrooms, Onions
Chicken Stock, Veal Shanks, Rosemary, Thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly dust the veal shanks with flour, salt and pepper. In a hot pan large enough to hold the shanks and vegetables, add some olive oil. Add the veal and brown on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside.

In the same pan cook the garlic, onions, carrots and mushrooms over medium heat. Add more olive oil as needed and cook until the onions begin to soften. Add the veal shanks and a few cups of wine. Turn up the heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add enough chicken stock to cover the meat and season with salt and pepper. Top with the fresh herbs.

Cover the pan, put in the oven, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.

Remove the pan from the oven, take out the veal shanks and scoop the marrow out of the bones. Add the marrow to the sauce and simmer to reduce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve the sauce on top of the shanks.

The marrow may also be left in the bone and enjoyed at the table with crusty bread or it can be added to risotto as in the classic Risotto Milanese.

Some chefs insist on using white wine, while others say you must use red. I say, use what you like or what you have on hand. Red wine will give you that rich, burgundy-colored  sauce and white wine will produce a lighter, more elegant sauce. I do however, remember the first time I made osso buco with white wine and then enjoyed my meal with a Chardonnay…Not to be missed!

Other Great Serving Suggestions:

  • Remove the bones, cut up the meat and serve over pasta
  • Serve Osso Buco with your favorite potatoes
  • Add some cooked rice to the sauce just before serving
  • Legumes are always wonderful accompaniments

André Tchelistcheff is Alive and Well!

It is quite rare that we are offered the opportunity to taste a wine from our birth year. Tonight I had that privilege, and what an honor it was!

The 1968 Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Estate Bottled ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir from Napa Valley.
For those of you who are new to wine or new to tasting older vintages, wines are truly like people…The great ones really do get better with age!

First of all, this wine is a very rare bottle of BV Pinot Noir from the time when the Latour family still owned the winery and the great André Tchelistcheff still had his hand in the wine-making process; a man whom Robert Mondavi referred to as…”a fascinating man, brilliant, stimulating, creative – a catalyst for the world of wine.”…“I know of no one who has been more helpful to the industry.  His teachings and consultations internationally, without doubt, improved the quality of winemaking in our country. 

When we first opened the wine, I thought…”it’s dead…it’s done…past peak…what a shame”. But we decided to leave it in the glass to see what would happen. Well…she opened up and began to express herself in all her glory!

A truly elegant wine with notes of truffles, dark cherries and licorice. The sweet nose was addictive and the fruit showed surprisingly well for a wine this old. It had all the qualities that you would find in a great Barolo but without the tannic grip.

We enjoyed it with herb-roasted chicken, which always pairs well with older red wines.



Champagne Lallier Premier Cru Rosé Brut NV
Spicy Grilled Shrimp, White Beans & Smoked Bacon
Involtini of Eggplant, Ricotta & Pomodoro
Baked Clams

2004 Bouchard, Meursault Perriers
Fresh Linguine with Seafood, Garlic, Wine & Butter
Seafood Risotto

1968 Beaulieu Vineyard, ‘Beaumont’ Pinot Noir
1999 Luigi Einaudi, ‘Nei Cannubi’ Barolo

1998 Clinet, Pomerol
Herb Roasted Chicken, Rosemary Yukon Gold Potatoes


Risotto Cakes

Italians are very resourceful people, and when it comes to food, they waste nothing. Rice balls, rice cakes and arancini are one of many foods which were usually created from leftovers; in this case rice or risotto.

Craving a different appetizer, I took my leftover vegetable risotto from Monday and loosened it up with some mayonnaise and a touch of hot sauce. After blending it together and adjusting the seasoning to my liking, I shaped the risotto into small disks, dredged them in flour, then eggs and coated them in Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. I pan-fried them in oil til golden and served them with a spicy mayonnaise.

A Quick Risotto Lesson


The following will help ease any fears of preparing risotto:

  • Use only Arborio or Carnaroli Rice, I prefer Carnaroli because it is a larger grain, giving risotto more body and texture.
  • Heat butter or oil in a pan and sauté chopped onions until translucent with whatever vegetables/meat/seafood, if any, the recipe calls for. Some should be reserved for later, but always start with onions regardless of what kind of risotto you make.
  • Add the rice, about a handful per person and stir continually to coat and toast the rice with the oil.
  • Add hot broth a cup at a time, stirring constantly. When all the liquid has been absorbed add more broth. Never add too much broth at one time. Use homemade broth when possible and keep it hot on the stove. A hot broth will keep the risotto cooking at a nice lightly bubbling simmer.
  • NEVER boil the risotto, it should be creamy! By adding the stock a cup at a time you will produce that wonderful creamy texture.
  • Add any other ingredients the recipe calls for.
  • Stir risotto constantly using a wooden spoon.
  • Do not overcook risotto. It should be served al dente and you must taste it often throughout the cooking process.
  • Fold in any cheese or herbs and serve immediately.


Vegetable Risotto Recipe:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth, kept hot
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 cups assorted vegetables, diced 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream, whipped (optional)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup scallions, chopped
Truffle oil


  1. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and the rice, stir to mix and toast the rice allowing it to absorb some of the flavors. If using denser vegetables which take longer to cook, add them now.
  3. Add about 1 cup of the broth just to cover the rice. Continue stirring until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add more broth just to cover. Continue stirring and continue this process of adding broth as it is absorbed for about 12-15 minutes or until the rice is al dente.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables and cook through. Add more broth if needed and season to taste.
  5. Stir in the butter, whipped cream, Parmesan and green onions. Simmer briefly, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and spoon onto plates. Drizzle with truffle oil and serve.


© Giovanni Cucullo 2010 / 2011