Ossobuco is perfect weekend cooking; lots of chopping, a slow braise, fiddle-faddle with a risotto and all the time in the world to savour your rewards with a glass of plonk. It’s worth making friends with your butcher for several reasons, one of which is getting perfect ossobuco – a fat chunk of veal with a decent sized marrow-filled bone.
One thing you must totally never ever do is move the meat around too much while it’s cooking, as you risk loosing your unctuous, gelatinous, glorious nugget of deliciousness. Leave well alone.
For two, easily multiplied for larger groups
2 Rose veal ossobuco (or is it ossobuci?)
1 white onion, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
1/2 fennel bulb, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 fat garlic cloves
1 sprig thyme, whole
12 cherry tomatoes, skinned and diced or 1/2 tin of good quality tomatoes
250ml dry white wine
200ml chicken stock
Oil and generously season the ossobuco before searing in a hot pan an setting to one side. Gently saute the onion, celery, fennel, carrot and garlic until translucent, then add the tomatoes, wine, stock and thyme. Return the meat to the pan and push down to completely submerge – add a bit more wine or stock if you need to. Simmer, loosely covered (stick the pan lid at an angle) on the lowest possible heat for around an hour and a half, or until the meat is totally tender. Remove the ossobuco from the heat and leave to stand, covered, while you make the risotto – trust me, it makes all the difference in texture and taste.
To serve: gently place the meat atop risotto alla Milanese with a bit of the sauce, and sprinkle with gremolata.
Risotto alla Milanese
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
150g arborio rice
Generous pinch saffron
750ml chicken stock
250ml white wine
Handful grated parmesan
I won’t bore on about how to make a risotto, I’m sure you’re all experts.
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/3 garlic clove
Make a paste out of the garlic with a little salt, and combine with the grated zest and finely chopped parsley.