Traditional ossobuco alla Milanese! Or classic braised veal shanks in a flavorful tomato wine sauce with zesty gremolata and a saffron risotto… Classic Italian comfort food is far more than the usual lasagna and the highly popular spaghetti with bolognaise sauce!
Ossobuco alla Milanese is another classic.
And I’m absolutely sure that you have heard of this famous Italian dish before. Well it is a very simple dish actually: ossobuco alla Milanese is slow braised veal shanks in an aromatic tomato and wine sauce.
You just can’t mess this one up, no space for errors!
Ossobuco alla Milanese
Veal shanks are the main ingredient here, you are right.
Now those veal shanks are a great deal more expensive than let’s say beef shanks. If I’m in my local supermarket checking the veal shanks and the price just seems far too much to me, I always go for the beef shank version instead.
And why not.
Beef ossobucco has exactly the same taste, the same texture and the same look. You might think, well it’s not the classic ossobuco alla Milanese – point taken. But I don’t feel like spending double the amount for the same end result.
But that’s just my personal opinion.
There is one thing you should not forget to do here to make it a true classic: make a zesty gremolata!
Do you know what gremolata is?
What is gremolata anyway?
Well it’s a popular and damn powerful and fragrant mixture of 3 beautiful ingredients: freshly chopped garlic and parsley mixed with freshly grated lemon zest.
A definite must if you are making an ossobuco alla milanese! Just sprinkle the gremolata mix on top of your ossobuco alla Milanese right before you want to serve it.
Don’t forget it! The gremolata makes a difference here.
Good to know: I just love to make this ossobuco alla Milanese a day in advance so that it has to cool down overnight. This makes the flavors develop even more. That flavorful tomato wine sauce and those braised meat juices…
I bet you know what I’m talking about here! The next day just place the ossobuco on the stove again an hour before serving.
Add extra water or beef stock if you think that the sauce has become too thick. And check that seasoning as well. You can also prepare this dish in a slow cooker if you have one.
Do you love bone marrow?
It’s a delicacy if you ask me… I love to scoop out the slow braised bone marrow in the ossobuco shanks once this dish is ready. If it hasn’t slowly melted away into the sauce that is! But even then, that marrow also gives a flavor boost to the entire dish.
Don’t miss it!
Best side dish for this ossobuco alla Milanese? My risotto alla Milanese: a golden scoop of saffron risotto rice! Want that recipe? Then scroll down to the second recipe on this page!
Is there any ossobuco alla Milanese meat and sauce left after dinner?
Then make a delicious ossobuco soup the next day!
Ossobuco alla Milanese Recipe
- 2 lbs veal or beef shanks (1 kg)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 7 oz canned chopped tomatoes (200 g)
- 2 cups beef stock (480 ml)
- 1 cup dry white wine (240 ml)
- 1 small fresh carrot
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- 1 stalk fresh celery
- 1 small onion
- 2 tbsp lemon zest grated
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- olive oil
1. Pour the plain flour in a deep plate and coat the shanks on all sides with it. Season them with a dash of pepper and salt. You can tie them up as well if you want the meat to stay together but that’s not necessary.
2. In a large non-stick pan add a generous splash of olive oil together with the fresh rosemary sprigs.
3. Place the pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the floured shanks to the pan.
4. Brown them on both sides for a couple of minutes. In the meantime dice the celery, the carrot, the yellow onion and 3 of the garlic cloves finely. Add them to the shanks as well. Season again with a good dash of pepper and salt.
5. Stir and add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes to the browned shanks.
6. Then pour in the beef stock and the white wine.
7. Give the shanks a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Bring it all to a good boil and then turn the heat low. Braise the shanks in the tomato sauce for at least 4 hours until the meat is super smooth and tender. You can also prepare this dish in a slow cooker if you have one. Right before serving, make the gremolata: combine the grated lemon zest, the remaining chopped garlic clove and the freshly chopped parsley. Sprinkle this on top of the ossobuco once it’s plated up and ready to be served. Enjoy!
Risotto alla Milanese
And that brings me to another classic…
Risotto alla Milanese, maybe the world’s most famous risotto ever! And the perfect side dish for ossobuco alla Milanese.
I made risottos (or risotti if you please) before but all contained additional vegetables such as peas, sun dried tomatoes, zucchini and parsnip. Not this time. The main ingredient in a risotto alla Milanese is saffron!
And that immediately explains its characteristic yellow color.
You’re free to add saffron the way you like. I used a capsule of saffron threads. Soak them in a few tablespoons of chicken stock or water. You will see the saffron will release an orange color. Add the range liquid as well as soaked threads. Soaking the saffron right before using it will enhance its flavor.
You can also use saffron powder.
If you want to add extra color to the yellow rice, sprinkle the risotto with freshly grated parmesan cheese and diced fresh tomato.
- 7 oz risotto rice (200 g)
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 large garlic clove chopped
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter 45 g
- 1 capsule saffron threads (2 g), or saffron powder
- 1 ½ cup chicken stock 360 ml, hot
- a handful parmesan cheese grated
1. Add the saffron threads to a tiny splash of water. Let them soak for 10 minutes until the water turns orange. If you use saffron powder, skip this step!
2. Transfer a tablespoon of the butter to a large non-stick pan and place the pan over medium heat. Let the butter melt and then add the chopped garlic and onion.
3. Stir for a couple of minutes until the onion looks translucent. Add the risotto rice.
4. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in a little of the hot chicken stock.
5. Gently cook the rice for 3 minutes over medium-low heat until the liquid has disappeared. Season with a little pepper and salt. Stir in the saffron powder or threads.
6. Gradually add more of the hot stock until the risotto is almost tender (check the tenderness regularly to avoid overcooking the rice!). This will take about 12 to 15 minutes. Take the risotto off the heat and stir in the rest of the butter and the grated parmesan.
7. Let the risotto rest for 2 minutes. Check the seasoning and add pepper and a little salt to taste if necessary. Scoop the cooked risotto onto plates. Serve immediately while hot.
Ossobuco alla Milanese in Beer
Ossobuco is just the perfect rich, cozy and hot comfort food you need on cold and rainy days.
And what style of cuisine could satisfy this inner need for savory home cooking better than any other type? Italian of course! Certo!
You can make this recipe with veal shanks as well but since there weren’t any in my local supermarket I used this huge beef shank that I found instead. This recipe takes quite some time to cook. If you want to use your slow cooker, be my guest!
So here’s a billion dollar classic: ossobuco! With beer this time. Don’t forget the little dessert in the end: eat that lovely marrow!
Here again you can let the ossobuco cool in the tomato sauce, put it in the fridge and let the ossobuco rest overnight because this will enhance the flavors tremendously. Then the next day just put the ossobuco back on the stove 1 hour before serving and reheat the shanks until warmed through again.
Ossobuco alla Milanese in Beer Recipe
- 2 lbs veal or beef shanks (1 kg)
- 1 shallot chopped
- 1 fresh carrot chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 stalk fresh celery chopped
- 1 medium fresh tomato
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp dried juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 ½ cup pale ale (360 ml)
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- olive oil
1. Pour the plain flour in a deep plate. Generously season the beef shanks on both sides with a good dash of pepper and salt. Coat them lightly with the flour. You can tie them up as well if you want the meat to stay together but that’s not necessary. Pour a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and let it melt over high heat. Add the shanks and sear it on one side for 4 minutes until lightly brown.
2. Flip the shank over and brown the other side for a few minutes. Remove the shank from the pan and put it on a plate for now. In the same hot pan (don’t wipe it clean) add the chopped garlic, the shallots, the bay leaves and the rosemary. Add an extra drop of olive oil as well.
3. Cook the vegetables for 2 minutes over medium heat. Roughly chop the tomato up and add it to the pan together with the chopped carrot, the celery and juniper berries. Season with pepper and salt.
4. Cook the ingredients for 4 minutes under a lid. Then add the red wine vinegar.
5. Stir well and add the browned shank again. Pour in the beer.
6. Turn the heat high. As soon as the beer starts to boil turn the heat very low again and put a lid on the pan. Simmer the shank for at least 4 hours (you can also use a slow cooker here). Stir and check regularly. Add a little extra water if necessary. The beef should be very tender and fall off the bone in the end.
7. Turn off the heat and transfer the braised shanks onto deep plates. Drizzle with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve hot.
Italian Rosemary Beef
This Italian beef recipe is ready in just a few seconds time.
So don’t blink because you’ll miss it! Would be a damn shame, believe me. This beef dish is so highly delicious and even more addictive and yep, I confess we made it again for dinner the day after.
Well that says enough, I would say!
The flavors are so pure and simple, an incredible recipe and the perfect signature dish of real basic Italian cuisine… In fact I tasted this one a couple of years ago in a restaurant in Rome. I just had to try this one at home as well!
Now this is a recipe where a good butcher will make the real difference. Ask him (or her) to slice the rib eye very thinly, about a tenth of an inch (2,5 mm) and brace yourself for some frowns and the unavoidable question why.
I assure you, the thickness of the beef will make or break this dish. It’s kind of like a carpaccio: the thinner the meat is sliced, the better the texture and also (not surprisingly) the flavor.
Serve the beef with fried potatoes and a good glass of red wine…
Italian beef recipe: don’t blink because this savory recipe is ready in just a few seconds time!
- 1 ½ lbs ribeye (675 g), sliced very thinly
- 1 large garlic clove chopped
- good quality olive oil
- 3 sprigs thyme
1. Pour a few tablespoons of the olive oil in a large non-stick pan and add the fresh thyme sprigs and chopped garlic.
2. Place the pan over low heat and cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic and thyme start to release their fragrance. Now turn the heat very high. When the olive oil is hot, add a few slices of the rib eye beef. Season with pepper and salt. Do this in batches if necessary.
3. Keep an eye on the beef because it goes very fast! Fry the beef for 30 seconds on one side and then turn it over quickly. Use barbecue tongs.
4. Season the other side of the beef and fry it for another 30 seconds. Immediately remove the fried beef from the hot pan and transfer it onto a clean plate. Fry another batch of the beef. Once all of the beef has been fried, divide it over warm plates and drizzle with an extra drop of olive oil. Sprinkle with a last pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Serve the beef immediately.