Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Father's Kitchen: Ossobucco

This was literally the last of it.

My father made his amazing ossobucco for a friend's birthday recently. I visited the night before the party and watched the beautiful dish simmer while drinking Rum Barbancourt with him. The aroma would have pleased the gods, as ossobucco is a magical dish: veal shank braised in white wine, vegetables, and broth until it's falling off the bone- and then the bone gives up its marrow. That's what I wait for, spoon in hand.

He served it with risotto alla milanese, a saffron risotto, but I prefer it with polenta. It was so tasty that I almost forgot to take a photo of it- a good sign, right? I managed to take a shot of the last bits, when the risotto alla milanese was finished. I used that crusty bread to sop up the broth.

I asked him for his recipe, and he adapted it to serve two:
  • olive oil
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 small sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 rosemary branch
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 4 pieces of veal shank or ossobuco
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1-2 cups of white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

    1. Sauté the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, then add the peppercorn, bay leaves, rosemary, and oregano.
    2. Brown the veal shanks in a separate, large pot in butter.
    3. Add the diced tomato to the veal shanks, fry it, then add beef broth and white wine as needed to keep it covered. Add the prepared vegetables.
    4. Cover the pot and cook it for three hours at a slow pace (simmer).
    5. Add salt to your taste, and serve it with risotto or with polenta.
I included a link to making risotto alla milanese, and you can buy polenta or make your own, which I recommend.

My father's version of ossobucco alla milanese has quite a few more vegetables than the "traditional" dish, and I asked him a couple questions about how he learned to make it. Read on, if you're interested:

Frankie: Where did you learn to make ossobucco, and from whom?

Dad: My father used to make it at home. He liked red wine in it, but it is too dark, and I use white wine that is lighter and sweeter when you cook with tomatoes.

Frankie: Who made the best ossobucco in your family?

Dad: Definitely my dad. My uncle Santos Mannarelli (my godfather) was always in competition with him but my dad's was the best.

Frankie: What is the main ingredient that you think "makes" your osso bucco special (and please don't say love!)?

Dad: The bone marrow. It is "morbida" [soft], and I like the taste and texture it provides the ossobuco when it is cooked for the right time.
Then I eat the marrow (tuetano) with a small spoon or knife. Yummmmmyyyyy.

Frankie: That's intense. But I totally agree.


  1. Good on you for kicking back the Haitian rum ;)

    The ossobuco looks wonderful.

  2. Heck yeah, that rum is amazing! Hope you try out the ossobucco recipe (unless you have your own, in which case, share, please!).