Osso buco

Preparation info

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Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

Osso buco means ‘bone with a hole’ in Italian. The bone is veal shank, and the hole is filled with rich bone marrow. If you’re a marrow lover, cook this in a wide, shallow casserole so that you can stand the bones upright and not lose the jelly inside. I swear I only cook this so I can sprinkle the traditional lemony, garlicky gremolata on top, which is a bit like ordering fish and chips because you like salt. (Make gremolata for all sorts of dishes, not just osso buco: it’s fantastic sprinkled over and into mashed potato.)


  • 4 slices of veal shank, 5 cm (2 in) thick with marrow bone in centre, or 10 small pieces
  • seasoned flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrate)
  • 1 cup veal or chicken broth


  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • grated rind of half a lemon


Coat the veal lightly with the flour. Melt butter and oil and fry veal until browned all over. Remove veal and cook onion, celery, carrot and garlic until onion is soft and translucent, adding a little extra olive oil if necessary.

Return veal to the pan, then add wine and bring to the boil. Allow to bubble until the liquid is reduced to about one-third the original volume. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and veal or chicken broth, then cover and simmer for 1½ hours.

Mix together the garlic, parsley and lemon rind to make a gremolata. Serve osso buco, with plenty of sauce, in pasta bowls, or on dinner plates with mashed potato, soft polenta, or saffron-flavoured risotto. Sprinkle the gremolata on top, and serve hot.