The most visually exciting way to serve osso buco pasta is to top each bowl of noodles with a whole cross cut of beef shank with the bone marrow intact.
With looks like that, it’s the perfect party food.
Traditional osso buco uses veal shanks. And veal shanks are not always easy to source in my part of the world. So, I use beef shank instead — preferably, from a not-so-mature animal. In some meat stores, it is possible to choose the shank so that you can get pieces that are of the same size, more or less, and you can get the ones that look just right for a single portion.
However, if the only beef shanks available are rather large ones, you can roughly chop the meat and top the pasta with them. Not as sensational looking but just as delicious. And who gets the bone with the marrow can be negotiated or decided with a flip of the coin.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large cross cuts of beef shank with the bone or 3 small
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped celery
- 1/3 cup chopped carrot
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- bone broth
- cooked pasta for 3
- grated Parmesan cheese
For the gremolata:
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- In a pan wide enough to accommodate all pieces of beef shanks in a single layer, heat the olive oil and butter.
- Brown the beef shanks on all sides. Scoop up with a slotted spoon.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and oregano to the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, scraping the pan, for about a minute.
- Pour in the wine. Stir and scrape once more to loosen the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Allow to boil, uncovered, for about five minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Arrange the beef shanks in a single layer in the pan.
- Pour in enough broth to reach to about 3/4 of the height of the shanks.
- Season with more salt and pepper.
- Simmer for about 2 hours or until the beef is fork tender. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the shanks and the quality of the meat. Make sure to check the amount of liquid as the beef simmers away. Add more broth, about half a cup at a time, if needed, and adjust the seasonings each time.
- While the beef simmers, make the gremolata by mixing together the grated lemon zest, 3 tbsps. of chopped parsley, 2 tbsps. of minced garlic and salt.
- When the meat is tender, scoop out the shanks carefully and keep hot.
- Pour the sauce into a strainer set over a large bowl. Using the back of a spoon, press as much of the soft vegetables through the strainer.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well.
- Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and gremolata.
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