Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Osso Buco Pasta

osso buco 4

 

I just read that osso buco translates to ‘bone with a hole’ or ‘hollow bone’. I’m chuckling at the thought of posting a recipe called Hollow Bones Pasta—I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t go over all that well. (And the SEO gods would probably have a bone to pick with that.) I think it’s safe to say this is one of those cases where ignorance is bliss. Osso Buco Pasta sounds a lot more appealing.

Osso buco is a classic Italian dish made of braised veal shanks that are browned and gently simmered in a robust sauce of wine, tomatoes and aromatics. Traditionally, the shanks are presented prominently on top of a mound of vivid yellow saffron risotto. It’s an impressive-looking and delicious duo, but it takes a fair amount of work.papperdele pasta I transformed this classic into a more casual pasta dish (think Italian ragu) that captures the unctuous and deep flavors of osso buco. I bulk up the sauce with more tomatoes and remove the tender, braised veal from the bone, dice it into bite-sized pieces and toss it back into the sauce. Traditional osso buco is challenging—the meat tends to fall off the bone which can diminish the presentation and stress out the cook. This recipe avoids that problem altogether.

Another trademark of osso buco is a topping of a mixture of parsley, lemon zest and garlic called gremolata. The gremolata invigorates the sauce with brightness and clarity. I wouldn’t think of leaving it out of the equation. It would be like having fish and chips without salt or a Bloody Mary without horseradish. This recipe calls for stirring a bit of the gremolata right into the sauce so the flavors meld, but still reserving a good portion to sprinkle on top just before serving. osso buco bones

Back to the hollow bones. (You didn’t think that was going to be the end of it, did you?). The shank bones are not hollow at all, in fact, they are full of rich and delicious marrow which is considered by some to be the crowning glory of the dish. I have to agree. In fancy restaurants, diners are often provided with a spoon designed just for the purpose of scooping out the marrow. I use the skinny end of a teaspoon or the tip of a pairing knife to remove the marrow and put it right into the sauce. And, what a lovely flavor it adds. Of course, if you decide to skip this step, I’ll never know—but make no bones about it—you’ll be missing out on something incredibly delicious.

 

 

Osso Buco Pasta

Yield: serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds veal shanks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 pound fresh or dried wide cut pasta such as paperdelle, fettuccini or tagliatelle
  • Gremolota:
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-third position. Preheat oven to 325°F. Pat veal shanks dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven on medium-high until just smoking. Brown the shanks on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer shanks to plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and cook the carrots and onions until soft and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Return the shanks to the pot and add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaf and rosemary and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer the pot to the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is very tender. Transfer shanks to plate.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the gremolata and set aside.
  4. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and discard any large pieces of fat. Dice the meat coarsely and return it to the pot with the sauce. Using the skinny end of a small spoon push the marrow out of the bones into the sauce. Simmer the sauce until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the gremolata and continue to simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, cook until al dente. Drain and transfer the pasta back into pot. Add half of the sauce and simmer for a minute so the pasta absorbs the sauce. Adjust seasoning. Transfer pasta to warmed serving dish with remaining sauce spooned on top and sprinkle with remaining gremolata.
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