Easy Ossobuco

Italian comfort food to brighten up your days.

I think it is time for even more Italian comfort food. Today we go with ossobuco, a dish that is somehow magical for me. I still can’t quite understand why such humble ingredients taste so incredibly good together. The version I made is a little easier to prepare than the original and doesn’t compromise on taste. Give it a try!

This is less of a recipe than a “field report” of how I prepared a huge batch of veal shank slices I’ve got from my mother, who was slightly overwhelmed by the huge 4,5kg block of frozen meat that she got from her butcher because of a missunderstanding. By the way, to defrost an enormous amount of frozen meat, put it in the fridge and wait one to two days. Works well and it is safe.

I decided to make an easier, quicker version of the traditional ossobuco. Normally you fry the veal shanks in olive oil and butter until golden. You shouldn’t overload the pan as it would rather stew than fry but doing this in small batches, when you have over four kilogram of meat, is quite tedious. Therefore I cheated a little by adding miso paste, which gives a ton of umami and “heartyness” you usually get by frying. Just don’t tell any Italian!

This is Italian comfort food, so refrain from heavy spice usage and let the ingredients and slow cooking do their magic. Trust me, it is delicious just the way it is.

Ingredients

  • 4,6kg veal shank slices (6 huge slices)
  • 4 onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 200g tomato paste
  • 680g passata/polpa (one bottle)
  • a heaping (and I mean it) tbsp miso paste
  • a generous swig of Pernot (any wine goes well here)
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°C. Get a large dutch oven or casserole with a lid and combine the wet ingredients (tomato paste, passata, miso, Pernot) in it to make the sauce. Season with little salt (miso is already salty) and a generous amount of pepper.
  2. Put the first three slices of veal shanks in the dutch oven and push down into a single layer. Push as much of the sauce “on top” as possible.
  3. Peel two onions and cut them, together with two carrots and two garlic cloves, into (relatively) fine dices. Sprinkle the veggies onto the veal shanks in the dutch oven.
  4. Repeat the veal shank stacking and veggie diceing once more, push everything down and add the rosemary sprigs. Cover tightly with a heavy lid.
  5. Cook at 250°C for 30 minutes, then turn down to 140°C and let it bubble away for about 3 hours or completely tender.

Macros

I haven’t found a way to “correctly” track the macros of ossobuco. It is impossible to find out how much fat and bone is used for the calculations used for the app you are using. There fore I guesstimate and I suggest you do the same. I simply separate the sauce from the meat, remove the bones and track the meat as “cooked beef”. Then I track an additional amount of olive oil (about 10ml) that seems reasonable. I simply “over-log” the sauce as double the amount of carrots. It’s not perfect, but good enough. Relax 😉 !

Serve with rice, polenta, bread or mashed potatoes. You really only need something to mop up the sauce. Go for what you have at home and keep it simple. It can be served with gremolata if you want something refreshing to go with it.

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