Osso Buco Osso Buco

Osso Buco

Osso Buco
Literally translated as bone hole! It’s the cut of meat that has the marrow in the center!

One summer night in San Felice Circeo I started to make this dish and halfway through the cooking of it–I ran out of PROPANE GAS! What did I do? I knocked on my neighbor’s door, pot in hand and asked Licia if I could finish the cooking on her stove! That was the night the lights went out too, and we ate by candle light on the terrace overlooking the Maga Circe–a mountain profile of the the Circe who called to Ulysses.

It was the Feast of San Lorenzo–the day after the Feast of the Assumption (which is Ferragosto the 15th of August and one of the biggest holidays in Italy). Anyway, after dinner we sat with the lights out and an Amaro Averna in hand. Celebrating San Lorenzo is when you see the most amount of falling or shooting stars…that night we counted 16! And the magic of it made me feel I was just that age!


5-6 veal shanks cut to about 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick…can use beef, but it takes longer to cook and sometimes remains a bit tough. I’ve done both–you just have to pay more attention to the beef.
1/4 cup of flour to dip the meat in (optional) I like this ingredient because it gives substance and texture to the gravy.
black pepper
6-8 Tbs. of olive oil
2 carrots sliced
1 onion sliced
3 celery stalks sliced
4-6 plum tomatoes skinned
Now when I make this if I have a potato, a sweet potato or a zucchini, I use them as well. Not part of the true original recipe…but do you care if it’s delicious?
2 cups of white wine
2 cups chicken or beef or vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves minced.


Okay–this can be made in the oven…it takes 2-3 hours. It may be made on top of the stove and it takes the same 2-3 hours. Or you can brown the seasoned floured meat in 1/2 the oil and add all the broth and tomatoes and cook in the pressure cooker for about 1/2 hr. to 45 minutes and be sure your meat will be tender.

When the meat is cooked, pour the rest of the oil in a large Dutch over or iron heavy pot for stewing. Add oil, onion, garlic, carrots, celery and any other veggies mentioned above. Cook on high flame for about 5 to 7 minutes. Fling in the vino and let the alcohol steam off, and then add the meat and its broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and let cook uncovered over a low to medium heat for 1/2 hr to 45 minutes–taste a potato for “doneness” if you added them. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve the sauce over fettuccine with some grated Romano cheese, and the meat as a second platter…


Make it without tomatoes!

The men in my family go GAGA for this dish. I haven’t a clue why, but Nico loves the midolo or bone marrow and Felipe just loves the whole thing!. This used to be a poor man’s dish due to the cheaper cut of the meat when my Aunt Jay, who just passed away a few years ago at 96, was growing up. Then one day she went to the Four Seasons in NYC and was shocked to find it on the menu and almost passed out when she read the right side and saw the price.