Osso buco with fresh tomatoes and peas


Who does not like osso buco? It is scrumptious and it makes your cheeks stick together. In the winter, I prepare this dish in a more traditional way with a bit of citrus, lemon and/or orange peel depending on how I feel, a bit of allspice to round up the flavors and I serve it with the traditional gremolata, sometimes omitting the raw garlic that can be overpowering.

The addition of fresh tomatoes and peas adds a lot of freshness, color and transforms it into the perfect summer dish. I have adapted it from Biba Caggiano’sFrom Biba’s Italian Kitchen”, one of my very favorite cookbook authors.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil
4 veal shanks
1/2 cup flour, for dredging
1 onion, finely chopped
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
50 grams of pancetta, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 cups chicken broth (approximately)
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
1 or 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
salt and pepper

Method:

1. Set the oven to 350 F.
2. Season the veal shanks on both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper. dredge them in flour and shake off the excess.
3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottom pan and cook the shanks until golden brown, probably 5 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate. Remove any excess oil that has accumulated in the pan.
4. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, the celery and the pancetta. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the pancetta starts to color, a few minutes.
5. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
6. Return the meat to the pan at this point, add the wine, bring to a boil and cook until the wine has reduced by half.
7. Fill the pot halfway with the stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hour, checking once in a while to see if there is enough liquid in the pot. Add more broth if needed.
8. When the meat is tender and falls off the bone, add the tomatoes and the peas and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, uncovered.
9. If the sauce is too liquid at this point, take the meat out of the pan and set aside. Put the pot over high heat and reduce until you have the desired consistency. Check seasonings. Serve hot with soft, grilled or fried polenta.

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