Classic Osso Buco Alla Milanese

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Osso buco translates to “bone with a hole” in Italian, and this hearty dish is exactly that – tender veal shanks braised in a rich tomato and white wine broth. It’s a staple of Milanese cuisine and a true comfort food experience.

This recipe breaks down the steps of making osso buco in a way that’s approachable for home cooks. While it does involve some simmering time, most of the work is hands-off, allowing you to prepare other dishes while the delicious aromas fill your kitchen.

The Best Osso Buco
The Best Osso Buco


4 veal shanks, cut about 2-inches thick (Note: If veal shanks are unavailable, beef shanks can be substituted)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Gremolata (optional), for garnish (recipe follows)

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Pat the veal shanks dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.

    2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Sear the veal shanks on all sides until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside.

    3. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

    4. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant.

    5. Stir in the diced tomatoes, white wine, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

    6. Return the veal shanks to the pot, nestling them into the liquid. Cover the pot and transfer it to the preheated oven.

    7. Braise for 2-2 ½ hours, or until the veal shanks are very tender and falling off the bone. Baste the shanks with the cooking liquid occasionally while braising.

    8. Once cooked, remove the pot from the oven and carefully transfer the veal shanks to a serving platter. Discard the bay leaf.

    9. Increase the heat to medium-high on the stovetop. Bring the remaining braising liquid in the pot to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    10. Serve the osso buco with the spooned over the top. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and gremolata (if using).

    Gremolata (Optional):

    1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

    Nutrition Facts:

    (Per Serving)

    Calories: Approximately 500-600 (depending on the size of the veal shanks)

  • Fat: 30-40g
  • Protein: 40-50g
  • Carbohydrates: 20-30g
  • Sodium: Varies depending on the amount of salt used

  • Please note: This is a general estimate and the actual nutritional content may vary depending on the specific ingredients used.


    Osso buco is a dish that’s both impressive and surprisingly simple to prepare. The combination of tender veal, rich sauce, and aromatic vegetables makes it a true crowd-pleaser. Serve it with mashed potatoes, risotto, or crusty bread for a complete and satisfying meal.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I substitute beef shanks for veal shanks?

    Yes, you can absolutely substitute beef shanks for veal shanks in this recipe. Beef shanks have a slightly stronger flavor than veal shanks, but they will still work well in this dish. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time slightly, as beef shanks may take a little longer to become tender.

    2. How can I tell if my osso buco is done?