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Ossobuco Recipe: Easy Steps for a Tasty Italian Classic

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The key to a perfect Ossobuco lies in the rich, savory flavor of slow-braised veal shanks combined with a luscious sauce. This Italian classic, traditionally served with gremolata and risotto alla milanese, offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience.

You’ll start by lightly flouring the veal shanks, then browning them to seal in the flavors. Cooking them with onions, garlic, and wine creates a robust base, while the slow simmer ensures tender, juicy meat. By following these simple steps, you’ll master a dish that’s both impressive and deeply satisfying.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make a delicious Ossobuco, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Main Ingredients

  • Veal shanks (bone-in): 4 pieces. If you can’t find veal, you can use beef shanks.
  • Flour: For dredging. Cornstarch works as a gluten-free substitute.
  • Butter and Olive Oil: For browning the meat.


  • Onion: 1, finely chopped.
  • Carrots and Celery: 2 of each, finely chopped.
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced.


  • White Wine: 1 cup. Chicken broth can be used if you prefer alcohol-free.
  • Vegetable or Chicken Stock: 2 cups.


  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Bay Leaf: 1 leaf.
  • Sage: 4 leaves.

For Gremolata

  • Lemon Zest: From 1 lemon.
  • Parsley: 2 tablespoons, finely chopped.
  • Garlic: 1 clove, minced.

Possible Substitutes

  • Ghee or Coconut Oil can replace butter if you’re dairy-free.
  • Tomato Paste: Can be added for more depth of flavor, especially if using beef shanks.
  • Rosemary or Thyme: Can be swapped with sage if you prefer a different herb.

Using the right ingredients and substitutes ensures your Ossobuco turns out perfect, full of rich flavors that everyone will enjoy.


  1. Prepare the Veal Shanks
    Season the veal shanks with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour, shaking off any excess flour. This will help create a nice crust when you cook them.

  2. Brown the Meat
    Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil. Once hot, place the veal shanks in the pan. Brown each side for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  3. Cook the Vegetables
    In the same pan, add chopped onion. Cook over low heat for about 3 minutes until onion becomes transparent. Add crushed garlic and stir until it’s fragrant.

  4. Add Wine and Broth
    Pour in white wine and let it boil until reduced by half. This intensifies the flavor. Then add broth, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.

  5. Return the Veal Shanks
    Place the browned veal shanks back into the pan. Ensure they are partially submerged in the liquid. This helps the meat become tender.

  6. Simmer
    Reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Cover the pan and let it cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure there’s enough liquid. Add more broth if needed.

  7. Serve
    Once the meat is fork-tender, remove the pan from heat. Transfer the veal shanks to a serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh parsley or gremolata if desired.

Enjoy your delicious ossobuco!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

When making ossobuco, use fresh veal shanks for the best flavor. Trim any excess fat to prevent greasiness.

Flour the meat lightly before browning. This creates a nice crust and helps to thicken the sauce.

Don’t rush sautéing the vegetables. Cook onions, carrots, and celery slowly to let out their sweetness.

If you want a richer flavor, let the wine evaporate completely before adding stock.

To avoid overcooking the meat, simmer on low heat, covering your pot with a lid.

Turn the meat occasionally while it cooks. This ensures even cooking and keeps the meat tender.

For extra flavor, add a bay leaf or a sprig of thyme to the pot as it simmers.


If you have leftovers, let the ossobuco cool completely before storing.

Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container. It will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Freeze: Place in a freezer-safe container or bag. Ossobuco can be frozen for up to 3 months.

To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen. Warm it up on the stovetop over low heat until heated through. You can also microwave, but use low power to maintain the texture.

Keep these tips in mind to make your ossobuco delicious every time!

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

You can make Ossobuco in different ways to suit your taste.


  1. Wine Choice: Use red wine for a deeper flavor or white wine for a lighter taste.
  2. Herbs: Try rosemary instead of thyme.
  3. Tomatoes: Add more crushed tomatoes for a richer sauce.
  4. Meat Alternatives: Use beef or pork shanks if you can’t find veal.

Serving Suggestions

  • Polenta: Serve Ossobuco over creamy polenta for a comforting meal.
  • Risotto alla Milanese: This saffron-infused risotto pairs perfectly with the dish.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Classic mashed potatoes also work well.
  • Gremolata: Sprinkle with a mixture of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley.

Vegetable Sides

  • Roasted Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts can be roasted as a side.
  • Steamed Asparagus: Simple yet elegant, steamed asparagus adds a touch of green.

Bread & Salad

  • Crusty Bread: Use it to soak up the delicious sauce.
  • Green Salad: A light salad with a vinaigrette can balance the richness of Ossobuco.

Feel free to mix and match these options to create your perfect Ossobuco experience.

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.