Osso Buco (Bone with a Hole)

DSC_0065(click on pics to enlarge)

(Osso = bone) + (Buco = hole)

This meat is a shank cut. The best part is the marrow in the center of the bone when cooked. Mostly, it is made with veal shank. However, veal shank can be expensive or impossible to find. Since the meat will cook for an hour and one-half or more, I substitute the veal with a beef shank. I can find beef shank for a third of the cost of veal and actually I think it has a place in this dish.

There are two types of Osso Buco.  The older versions from decades ago is made with veal and the sauce is a brown sauce.  It has virtually no tomatoes other than a little tomato paste and uses dry white wine.  It is considered the old-fashioned Milanese type.  Since I’m using beef shank, I prefer to use red wine, tomato paste and a tomato sauce.  The sauce I make each year from the San Marzano tomatoes I grow in my garden.  This version with tomatoes is a more modern adaptation.  One final deviation I do is after browning the shank I cut the meat away from the bone into bite size pieces.  However, I serve the bone with the dish.  It makes it more convenient to eat.  I serve both with polenta and gremolata.  So, this is really Osso Buco stew.

Serves 2

2 beef shanks (or veal if available)
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 – 15 oz. can tomato sauce or puree. (I make my own each year from scratch and freeze)
½ cup of dry red wine (dry white will also work)
Salt and pepper
Meat broth as needed (I use veal stock when available but chicken broth works fine also.)
1 clove garlic (pressed)

2 carrots chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 half onion chopped
2 celery stalks cut into ½ inch pieces

Bouquet Garni:  Tie in a cheesecloth sack
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs oregano or thyme
1 bay leaf

Gremolata (Chopped herb garnish):
1 lemon grated for its lemon zest
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley finely chopped
¼ tsp. dried sage
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary finely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
(Chop all the herbs and garlic.  Mix everything in a bowl.) 


Cooking Directions:
Salt and pepper the meat and then dredge in flour. Brown in a Tbsp. or more EVOO in an oven proof pot. I use a 5 quart cast-iron pot with a lid.  Remove meat after browning and set aside.  The shank should be served whole with the bone in but I also find it better to cut it up in squares and serve the bone along with it.  It makes it easier to manage on the plate.

Add another Tbsp. EVOO and sauté the mirepoix.

Mix the red wine and tomato paste in a cup or bowl until the paste has dissolved.  Add the wine mixture to the mirepoix and stir.  Add one cup of stock or broth and stir.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a light boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Add bouquet garni and simmer 20 minutes.

Return meat to the pot and then add pressed garlic. Add remaining stock or broth until the meat is covered. Then add a dash more of wine.

Place pot with a lid (Dutch oven) in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 1½ to 2 hours.  An alternative is to simmer on top of the stove for nearly 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat tender.

Serve on a bed of cooked Polenta or Risotto and garnish with Gremolata to serve.

600 calories for 8 oz. meat, 24g carbs.

As of 1/30/22

Artichoke Seafood Soup

This is the best soup.  This dish works well with any combination of oysters, scallops, shrimp, and fish. 

½ yellow onion finely chopped
2 celery hearts finely chopped
2 scallions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 handful of parsley finely chopped
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 TBSP veg oil
2 TBSP butter

½ glass of dry white wine (this is the acid)
1 8 oz. bottle of clam juice
1 TBSP flour
Dash of cream

1 cup of frozen shrimp (after thaw water retained)
1 cup of frozen bay scallops
(Will use white fish in next recipe, use whatever is available)
S&P (white pepper)

In a Dutch oven or favorite soup pot gently sauté the mirepoix in oil and butter.  Sweat for 20 minutes on low heat.

Add the flour and stir well.  Add the wine and mix until a white roux appears.  Add the clam juice, retained shrimp/scallop and clam juice, and mix to thicken the flour.  Salt and pepper.  Cook slowly on a simmer heat until the artichokes get a little soft.  This soup is cooked low and slow.

15 minutes before serving add the seafood.  Cook 15 minutes on low heat then add a little cream.  The cream mostly adds color.  Don’t boil once the cream is added as this might curdle the cream.


As of 1/19/22


Italian Desert Custard

6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup Madeira (or Marsala)
1 tsp grated lemon peel
Pinch cinnamon
Vanilla extract
1 cup whipped cream
Blue berries (any fruit)

Fill a sauce pot with water half way. Bring water to light boil and reduce heat to slightly under medium. Use a round bottom metal double boiler. Place over the pot of water and add all the ingredients except the blue berries (fruit) in the round double boiler and whisk on low heat until the mixture makes a custard. This might take a little while.  Be patient.  When it is the desired thickness, remove and place in a large bowl to cool. When cooled add a cup of whipped cream (Cool whip) and whip until it gets peaks. In something like a wine glass, add the fruit, then the Zabaglione, more fruit, then cool whip. Cover the glass with plastic wrap and cool in the frig until it’s time to eat. This dish is enough for four people. It is very rich. But, can be served in smaller quantity.  It has a very bold flavor.

“Main differences: Marsala is from the town Marsala in Sicily. Madeira is from the Madeiros Islands in the Atlantic. Madeira is made from Malvasia, Verdelho grapes.”

As of 12/31/21


People in the U.S. pronounce this dish “bra-jhol”.  In Italian it is pronounced “brat-cho-lee”.  I first experienced one in New Orleans.  There is a sizable Italian descendant population there.  The French Market in the French Quarter was once dominated by Italian stands and produce sales.  Braciole is round steak, tenderized with a mallet, rolled into a Roulade and tied, stuffed with various items including Persillade (garlic and flat parsley chopped together), Italian deli meats, Provolone, breadcrumbs and some stuff it with raisins and pine nuts.

Braciole Ingredients:
1 lb. top or bottom round, cut into flat slices, each about 1/2-inch thick, 4 to 5 inches square
Prosciutto (thinly sliced)
Genoa Salame (thinly sliced)
Provolone (thinly sliced)
Breadcrumbs, 10 or 12 saltine crackers (chopped in a small food processor into a fine consistency)
Butcher’s String
Persillade, 5 or 6 cloves garlic, bunch of flat parsley (Place all in a small food processor and chop)

Other ingredients might include: Pine nuts and raisins (Not used in this recipe)

Thin Spaghetti for two.

Tomato Sauce:
Your favorite tomato sauce.  I use 2 TBSP tomato paste soaked in a dry red wine.  One 15 oz. can of tomato sauce.  I sauté a Trinity (chopped onion, celery, and green pepper) in olive oil, garlic, add the sauce, a bay leaf and thyme. 

Tenderize the steak slices with the spike textured side of the tenderizer and pound to ~1/4 inch.  Add salt and pepper, apply some bred crumbs, Persillade, then Prosciutto, Salame and Provolone.  Start with the narrow end and roll the meat.  Tie the roll with butcher string.  Dry the outer roll with paper towels before browning.

In a covered Dutch oven brown the Braciole all sides and remove.  Sauté the Trinity in oil, add the paste mixture, tomato sauce, herbs, a dash of leftover coffee from the morning, mix and return the Braciole.  Braise the Braciole in a 350° oven for 2 hours.  Serve over thin spaghetti.

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 wine used in this dish.


Pork Ramen Noodle Soup

Serves 2

4 cups of water
1 large scallion (cut the green part off and retain for the broth and chop the white part to add to the Ramen bowl)
1” fresh ginger sliced whole with skin on (remove before serving)
1” garlic clove sliced (remove before serving)
1 baby Bok choy with leaves
1 eggs hard boiled and peeled (to make a Ramen egg)
½ Lb. pork tenderloin
1 small piece of side pork (with plenty of fat)
4 shrimp peeled and de-veined (retain the skins)
4 shrimp shells (add to the broth and remove before serving)
4 small shiitake mushrooms (if dried re-hydrate over night)
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
1 piece of dried Kombu (sea weed or kelp)
Aji-Mirin (Sweet cooking rice seasoning liquid by Kikkoman)
Soy sauce
2 Packs Ramen noodles (discard the flavor packet, just use the noodles)

Ramen Egg: The night before boil the egg and peel. In a plastic container add 3 TBSP soy sauce with 3 TBSP sugar and 2 cups water and mix. Drop the peeled egg into the mixture so that it is submerged and leave in the frig overnight to marinate.

In a covered pot add 4 cups of water the sea kelp and the shrimp shells and let soak for an hour or more.

Peel the carrot and cut into match sticks.  Place in a bowl and sprinkle with table salt.  This will wilt the carrots so they can become flexible.  When they are flexible rinse off the salt and set aside.

Pork Marinade: In a small sauce pan mix 3 TBSP soy sauce with 2 TBSP sugar, 1 TBSP Mirin and 1 TBSP Sake. Bring to slight boil, turn off heat and let cool. This will be used later to marinate the tenderloin before serving.

Ramen Pork Broth: Add the green top of one scallion and the pork fat. Bring the water to a boil. Just as the water begins to boil remove the Kombu and add the mushrooms. Reduce heat to a slow boil and add the pork tenderloin. When the pork is cooked remove from the broth and thinly slice the tenderloin. Place the sliced tenderloin in a shallow plate and pour the marinade over the top and let sit awhile. Add the baby bok choy and the shrimp to the broth. Add 3 TBSP of soy sauce, dash of Sake and a pinch of salt and gently stir. When the shrimp turns red remove and turn down the heat. Remove everything from the broth and prepare it for the bowl.

Boil water in a separate pot for the noodles and cook 3 minutes.

Drain noodles, plate in a bowl with the noodles first, add all the ingredients on top of the noodles then with a ladle the hot broth over and serve.  We use chop sticks and an Asian soup spoon.

As of 12/4/21