How to Cook the Perfect Italian Osso Buco with Gremolata?

Osso Buco is one of those heartwarming, comforting recipes that have become a staple in Italian cuisine. The succulent texture of the veal shanks, the rich aroma of the wine-infused sauce, and the vibrant, zesty gremolata that crowns the dish, all combine to create a gastronomic masterpiece. But how can you replicate this traditional Italian recipe in your own kitchen? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s break down the process into easy-to-follow steps, so you can create the ultimate Osso Buco with Gremolata that will impress even the most discerning palates.

Preparing the Veal Shanks

The star of this classic Italian dish is, of course, the veal shanks. It’s crucial to pick the right cuts and prepare them properly to bring out the best flavours.

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Start by selecting quality veal shanks, preferably cut thick and with a good proportion of marrow in the bone. The marrow adds a unique, richness to the dish that’s hard to replicate with other cuts.

Before you begin cooking, make sure to season your meat. A generous amount of salt and pepper is essential. Heat some olive oil in an oven-safe pan and sear the veal shanks on all sides. This will lock in the juices and give your osso buco a beautiful, appetizing color.

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Crafting the Sauce

Once your veal shanks are seared, it’s time to craft the sauce that will lend that distinctive, mouthwatering flavour to your osso buco.

In the same pan, add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until they soften and develop a golden color. The sofritto, as it’s known in Italian cuisine, provides a robust base for your sauce.

Now, pour in a cup of white wine. As the wine simmers, it deglazes the pan, lifting all those lovely, caramelized bits stuck at the bottom. This process intensifies the flavor of the sauce.

Once the wine reduces by half, add in a can of tomatoes and some beef broth. Stir everything together, ensuring the veal shanks are nestled snugly amidst the liquids. This savory bath will simmer away in the oven, rendering the meat fall-off-the-bone tender.

Cooking in the Oven

Now that the veal shanks and sauce are ready, it’s time to let the oven do its magic. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).

Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and transfer it to the preheated oven. Cook your osso buco for about 1.5-2 hours. You’ll know the osso buco is done when the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.

Remember, this is a slow-cooked dish. The low and slow heat allows the collagen in the meat to break down, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Resist the urge to crank up the temperature or shorten the cooking time. Patience is key when making osso buco.

Making the Gremolata

While the osso buco cooks, it’s time to prepare the gremolata. This vibrant condiment adds a fresh, zesty contrast to the rich and hearty osso buco.

Gremolata is a simple mix of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. The traditional recipe doesn’t call for any salt or olive oil, but feel free to add if you prefer. Chop everything finely and mix it together. The aroma of the fresh parsley, tangy lemon, and pungent garlic will tantalize your senses.

When the osso buco is ready to serve, sprinkle the gremolata on top. It elevates the flavor and gives the dish a beautiful, colorful finish.

Serving the Osso Buco

Finally, it’s time to serve your masterpiece. Italian osso buco is traditionally served with risotto or polenta. These starchy sides are perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce. Add a generous spoonful of gremolata on top, and your dish is complete.

Remember, the essence of Italian cooking is simplicity and quality ingredients. Focus on these aspects, and you can’t go wrong. Whether you’re preparing a family dinner or hosting a special occasion, this osso buco recipe will undoubtedly be a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy the process, savor the flavors, and most importantly, share the love for food. Buon appetito!

Pairing and Storing your Osso Buco

After all your hard work, the final step is to enjoy your masterpiece. Pairing your osso buco with the right accompaniments can amplify its flavors even more. As mentioned earlier, traditional Italian osso buco is served with creamy polenta or risotto alla Milanese. These starchy sides soak up the flavorful sauce and complement the tender veal shanks. Other possible pairings include mashed potatoes or even a simple side of crusty bread.

To accompany your meal, a glass of full-bodied red wine makes the perfect partner. A Barolo or Chianti, with their robust flavors, can hold up to the rich, hearty osso buco.

If by some miracle, there are leftovers, osso buco stores well and tastes even better the next day. Allow the dish to cool before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be savored for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply place it in a Dutch oven or a pot and warm over low heat until heated through.


Cooking a perfect Italian osso buco with gremolata may seem like a daunting task. Yet, with patience, quality ingredients, and our detailed guide, you can master this dish. Remember, the beauty of Italian cuisine lies in its simplicity and celebration of flavors. Take your time preparing the veal shanks, crafting the sauce, and making the gremolata. Allow the slow oven cook to render your veal osso fall-off-the-bone tender.

The result will be a heartwarming, comfort food that boasts a medley of flavors: the richness of the veal, the robustness of the wine-infused sauce, the zesty freshness of the gremolata, all coming together in a perfect harmony.

Whether you’re an experienced cook or a novice in the kitchen, this traditional osso buco recipe is bound to impress. So, don your apron, gather your ingredients and begin your journey to creating an Italian culinary delight. Buon appetito!