Posted on


This dish is a Milanese specialty of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. It is often garnished with gremolata and traditionally served with polenta or mashed potato.  When loosely translated from Italian, Ossobucco means hollowed bone – a reference to the large piece of marrow in the center of the veal shank bone.

6 x 200 g crosscut veal shanks (2.5 to 4 cm in thickness)
125 ml cake flour
salt & pepper
45 ml butter
30 ml olive oil
30 g dry porcini mushrooms (optional)
125 ml onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
375 ml dry white wine
250 ml veal or beef stock

Gremolata (see Notes)
2 lemons, zest only (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
90 ml parsley, finely chopped

Creamy Polenta
250 ml polenta (yellow maize meal)
80 ml cream
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Dust each shank with flour, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large oven proof pan, melt the butter with the oil, and brown the shanks well on both sides.
  4. Remove to a separate plate and pour off any fat.
  5. Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in a cup of warm water for 30 minutes.
  6. Drain, retaining the mushroom liquid, and finely chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  7. Strain the mushroom liquid through a fine sieve, and measure out 1/2 cup, then set aside.
  8. Add the vegetables to the pan, and sauté the vegetables until tender.
  9. Add the wine, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom, bring to a boil and reduce.
  10. Add the beef broth and mushroom liquid and heat.
  11. Return the shanks to the pan, cover and place in the oven for at least 2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bones.
  12. Combine the ingredients for the gremolata topping and set it aside.
  13. To make the polenta, bring 750 ml cold water to the boil in a saucepan.
  14. Add the polenta in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes or until the polenta is soft.
  15. Remove the polenta from heat and stir in the cream.
  16. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into individual plates.
  17. Serve one shank per person and spoon some of the sauce over the shank and polenta.
  18. Sprinkle with the gremolata topping and serve.


  • If the sauce is not thick, carefully remove the veal shanks to a warm dish and return the pan to the stove top over high heat. Cook until the sauce has thickened. Just before serving, return the veal shanks to the pan to reheat.
  • Gremolata is an Italian garnish made from finely minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  It is traditionally served with veal but it is also an excellent accompaniment for fish and seafood dishes.

6 servings.

Photo credit: