This velvety-tender, rich braise is an authentic taste of Milan. Mangia
Veal shanks are popular in many European cuisines, but it's in osso buco, the northern Italian classic, that they can be at their most heavenly. These veal shanks, braised in a sophisticated and subtle tomato sauce, then finished with a bright gremolata (fresh parsley, lemon zest, and garlic), have an undeserved reputation of requiring large amounts of both time and expertise in the kitchen. But few dishes are more forgiving or more seductive. Like most braises, it does require slow, gentle cooking, but it doesn't take much hands-on work.
In this menu, osso buco is paired with its classic accompaniment, saffron risotto. Even the risotto can be started hours ahead, and then finished only at the last minute. With its red-flecked deep golden hue, it warms the plate and the palate on a cold night. The meal starts with a gorgeous salad of winter greens, and finishes with a creamy ricotta tart.
What to drink: Osso buco, a classic Italian dish, calls for an equally classic Italian red, one with forward fruit, bright acidity, and moderate tannins. Chianti Classico from Tuscany or Barbera from Piedmont are two excellent choices.
Photo: Scott Phillips
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