Ossobuco is known the world over by lovers of Italian food as hailing from the North of Italy. Correct. I have written about ossobuco in two other posts (see bottom of page). What I am writing about today is the Roman variation on ossobuco which is also jolly good and also happens to be a favourite with both favourite son and favourite husband.
Here are the slices of veal shank or “ossobuco”. I salted them on both sides when I brought them home and before putting them in the fridge. Usually it’s an imperative to remove meat from the fridge in good time before cooking it (e.g. with steaks), in order to bring it to room temperature. With ossobuco this is not a necessity as it is a dish that needs slow cooking (about 1 hour). Here is the usual soffritto: 1 onion, 1 carrot and 1 celery stick all diced up and cooked in olive oil. Frozen peas, this being this time of year. Some meat stock that I had in the freezer. If you don’t have meat stock, make some vegetable stock using any dribbles, and bits and bobs that you have in the fridge but always include onion, carrot and celery. The ossobuco needs to be dredged in flour. Get your working station ready, military style. The first saucepan is where the ossobuco will be browned. The second saucepan is for cooking the soffritto and the last for bringing the stock to a boil. It’s a bit like a factory line — but if you prefer doing it step-1 and then step-2 fashion, by all means follow your preference. Ready, get set, go! Dredge the meat on both sides in the flour and then dust off any excess flour. Cook the meet on a medium heat, first on one side … And then on the other side. Cook in batches. Cook the meat for as long as it takes to brown (a few minutes on both sides). Put the cooked meat aside.This is what was left in the saucepan when I had finished browning all the meat.
Time to deglaze with a glass of wine — red or white, it doesn’t really matter but in this instance I think white is more called for. Cook until the alcohol has evaporated. Now add the by-now cooked soffritto and combine. Add the meat straight away.Start adding the simmering stock … start with one ladle and then add more, until all the meat which is snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug has been covered.
I used probably 1 liter of stock. Cover with a lid and braise for about 50 minutes … keeping an eye on it every now and then, and adding more stock if required. This is what it looked like after about 50 minutes. I added the frozen peas and a good sprinkle of salt and a twist of pepper. I combined and added a little more stock. I happened to have a little bit of prosciutto lurking in the fridge and thought I would add that too. I roughly chopped the parma ham and some parsely leaves … I added this mixture to the saucepan and mixed well. I shouted “It’s ready!” to everyone … It was fork tender now and you can see how the meat stock had been transformed into a kind of gravy. All very succulent. I took a picture of the third advent candle we had lit …. But didn’t take any photos of the dish on the table.These were the remains.
Oh … and I love a lot of pepper on ossobuco alla romana, but I added that later, on my own dish. It is very easy to make. There are a few steps but they are not at all complicated. Think of it as a kind of “stew” with peas in it …