There’s nothing more comforting on a cold winter’s day than enjoying a hearty braised dish. Osso buco is a tender and delicious dish that originates from northern Italy. As a delectable example of traditional Lombard cuisine, this specialty dish combines cross-cut veal shanks with vegetables, white wine, and broth. The defining feature of osso buco is the large bone and rich marrow centre, with this prized delicacy ideal for slow cooking and paddock-to-plate eating. Osso buco is a delicious and luxurious meal that’s perfect for winter nights and long meals with the people you love.
A short history of osso buco
Osso buco, or ossobuco as it’s sometimes written, literally means “bone with a hole”. While the early history of this dish is uncertain, it’s thought to have originated in Lombardy during the early 19th century. It wasn’t included in Italian cookbooks until much later, however, becoming famous beyond its homeland when it travelled with emigrants to the new world. This much-loved dish caught the world’s attention when it was included in recipe books outside Italy, including Art Culinaire Moderne by Henri-Paul Pellaprat and Italian Food by Elizabeth David.
Osso buco is the perfect combination of simplicity and luxury. While it may have a relatively low cost and involve very little preparation, you get to enjoy a tender and comfortable culinary experience. It was originally a seasonal dish to be enjoyed in winter, warming the household and boosting the mood of everyone within smelling distance. Osso buco has been through many changes over the years, with lemons and tomatoes added to some recipes and global variations adding flavours from Asia, the Americas, and beyond.
Fantastic osso buco recipes
Having escaped the culinary confines of northern Italy, old-fashioned osso buco recipes are still relevant today, but chefs worldwide continue to push the boundaries with new herbs, spices, and other ingredients.
At Provenir, we respect authentic flavours and modern combinations in equal measure.
The following osso buco recipes highlight two of many ways to enjoy this amazing dish:
Osso Buco With Basil Pesto
- Preparation: 10 min
- Cooking: 1 h 40 min
- Ready in: 1 h 50 min
- 4 pieces Osso buco
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 500 ml Beef stock
- 1 Onion (diced)
- 2 Carrots (diced)
- 2 x 400 g cans Cannelini beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 Bouquet garni (see tip)
- 1 cup Green beans (chopped)
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Pat osso buco dry with paper towel, brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron pan with a lid over high heat and brown osso buco on both sides.
- Add stock, onion, carrot, butter beans and bouquet garni. Bring to the boil, cover meat with a piece of baking paper and then the lid and place in oven for 1 ½ hrs or until beef is very tender.
- Add the green beans for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Place basil, pine nuts and garlic in a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Add olive oil and process until smooth. Stir through parmesan and season with pepper and salt if needed. Add lemon juice if desired.
- Divide vegetables and sauce between 4 bowls and top each with a piece of osso buco and a dollop of pesto.
- Bouquet garni is a small parcel of herbs, usually bay leaf, lemon peel, thyme, rosemary, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- If you’re short on time, substitute basil pesto with a store-bought jar version.
Asian Osso Buco
- Preparation: 15 min
- Cooking: 2 h 15 min
- Ready in: 2 h 30 min
- 4 large Meaty pieces beef osso buco (300g-350g each)
- ¼ cup (40g) Plain flour (seasoned)
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 4 cm piece Fresh ginger (peeled, thinly sliced)
- 6 Star anise
- 160 ml (2/3 cup) Teriyaki Marinade
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (lightly crushed)
- 1 long Red chilli (deseeded, finely chopped + extra, sliced, if desired)
- 450 g Family-sized microwave brown rice (to serve)
- Asian greens (to serve)
- Preheat oven to 150°C (130°fan-forced). Pat osso buco dry with paper towel. Place flour in a large snap lock bag, add beef and toss to coat. Heat oil in a large casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook meat for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned all over.
- Add ginger, star anise, teriyaki marinade, peppercorns, chilli and enough water to just cover the meat. Season with pepper, cover and cook in oven for 2 hours-2 hours 15 minutes or until meat is tender and just coming off the bone. Remove meat from sauce and set aside on a plate loosely covered with foil. Place sauce over medum-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.
- Prepare rice according to packet instructions.
- Serve osso buco with sauce, rice, steamed Asian greens and extra chilli, if desired.
- Coating the beef in flour and browning first will add extra flavour to the dish.
- Beef cheeks would also work well in this recipe.For less heat omit the chilli and sichuan pepper.
- Skim any excess oil from the top of the sauce prior to simmering.
The nutritional benefits of slow cooking
Osso buco should always be enjoyed slowly. It takes a while for the delicious flavours to emerge from this cut, with patience leading to maximum tenderness and taste. Slow cooking also offers a number of nutritional benefits, especially when you include bones. The nutrients in red meat remain more stable when cooked slowly, and they’re also more likely to be reabsorbed as the meat changes form over time.
If you cook meat in a liquid at low heat, you can reduce the number of cell-damaging compounds known as AGEs (advanced glycation end products). This offers a number of health benefits, with AGEs linked with inflammation, diabetes, kidney disease, and even Alzheimer’s. Cooking slowly also leads to more tender results, and as a bonus, it helps to improve yields as meat shrinks less. When you cook slowly with bones, you get access to extra nutrients. The bones in osso buco meat are full of vital micronutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium.
The benefits of grass-fed beef
At Provenir, we believe in the benefits of grass-fed meat. Not only is it packed with B vitamins, it also has lots of vitamins A and E, along with other antioxidants. Grass-fed beef also has significantly lower levels of saturated fat compared to grain-fed beef, which makes your food taste better and is also great for your health. If you want to enjoy delicious, ethically-produced beef or veal with friends and family, grass-fed meat is a fantastic choice.
Along with grass-fed meats and ethical farming practices without hormones or antibiotics, we also believe in paddock-to-plate eating. This simple food philosophy is about learning lessons from the past to ensure sustainable processing and minimal transportation. When you source meat locally, animals benefit from less stress and you get to enjoy more tender meat for a truly wholesome food experience.
The Provenir difference
At Provenir, we have the perfect osso buco meat for your next dish. We provide exceptional quality meat through small-batch farming and ethical on-farm practices, so you can be assured of top-quality every step of the way. We are the only online butcher in Australia that brings grass-fed beef direct from the farm to you. Please browse our great selection of products or take a look at our recipes for creative meal ideas.