Osso buco is cut from the shank of a veal calf, with its bone and marrow, and the dish is a classic of the Italian kitchen, where it is most frequently served with a saffron risotto but is also very good with mashed or boiled potatoes.
Osso buco is also often served with gremolata, a piquant dressing of parsley, garlic and lemon zest.
One at a time, shake the ossi buchi in a bag of seasoned flour. Then brown them lightly in the olive oil in a hot frying pan, doing 2 at a time. When they are brown all over, transfer to a tray and reserve.
Fry the onion, celery and carrot over a low heat until translucent.
Transfer to a casserole dish in which the meat will just fit in one layer, sit the ossi buchi on top and season. Pour over the tomato passata and just enough dry white wine to cover, topping up with water if needed. Bring to the boil, skim and lower the heat to a bare simmer. Add the bay leaf and cook gently until the bone starts to loosen from the meat. This will take about 90 minutes. The stew can be allowed to cool and held at this point to be reheated gently.
Make the gremolata by finely chopping together the garlic with the parsley and lemon zest.
Serve the osso buchi in 4 large warmed soup plates with some risotto Milanese (flavoured with saffron) or boiled new potatoes and the gremolata sprinkled sparingly over the top.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.