Traditionally, Osso Buco is a Milanese dish and not made with tomatoes, contrary to popular belief. Tomatoes are not used in the cooking of northern Italy. The absence of the tomato flavour in Osso Buco allows the more delicate flavour of the gremolata to feature in this classic dish. I just love tomatoes in anything, and more so in slow cooked dishes so I had to use them in my version of Osso Buco plus I can't resist gremolata on just about anything.
Osso buco translates to "bone with a hole". It's actually the veal shank cut into slices. You could do this recipe with lamb shanks as well. You'll find most recipes the same but I used this one from one of my Italian cookbooks, "The Food of Italy". I served it with penne pasta and it was delicious. It was a cold-ish day and a very cool night. Just what I needed.
Osso Buco with Tomatoes & Gremolata
2 pieces veal osso buco
plain flour for dusting meat (seasoned with salt & pepper)
2 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1//2 celery stalk, fine chopped
250ml cup dry white wine
375ml (1.1/2 cups) veal or chicken stock
400gm tin diced Italian tomatoes
bouquet garni (fresh herbs tied with string - I used flat leafed parsley and thyme - you could also use dried herbs)
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
(This dish is perfect for the slow cooker or it can be prepared in an ovenproof casserole dish, suitable for the stove top and then cooked in the oven.)
Dust meat with seasoned flour and fry until sealed, in olive oil and butter. Remove from pan and add to slow cooker. Add onions, garlic, carrot and celery on low heat without browning. Add wine and increase heat to high and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes and bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. Return veal to pan (if using an ovenproof dish) or add vegetable/sauce mixture to slow cooker.
Cook on high for 4 hours or 8 hours on low if using the slow cooker. If cooking in the oven, cook for approx 1.1/2 hours or until meat is tender and sauce is thick.
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tbs flat parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Mix all ingredients together. After removing veal from the pan, add gremolata to sauce, saving some to sprinkle on top to serve.
Oh, and after researching quite a few different recipes on the Internet, I discovered that the correct spelling is 'buco' with one 'c', not two as I originally thought.