Romantic Times-A Perfect Dinner for Two-MainPhoto

Romantic Times-A Perfect Dinner for Two-MainPhoto
As the weather turns cooler in many parts of the country, it’s time to send the kids to grandma’s for the evening and share a rich, silky smooth dish with a special someone. Ossobuco is a dish full of flavor, simple to make but sexy and elegant. A few candles, your favorite dinnerware, soft music with a glass of wine and you’ve got the makings of a very memorable evening. For even richer flavor, make this dish a day ahead and reheat slowly.

This very Italian dish, is made of veal shanks braised in extra virgin olive oil, white wine, broth, tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, lemon zest, anchovies, and garlic. Traditionally, it is served with gremolata (garnish made of parsley, lemon peel and garlic) to add a fresh cleansing bite and contrast to the heaviness of the dish, and over risotto. And in Argentina, when cold days are nothing but a cry for hearty meals, ossobuco becomes a very popular dish usually served with vegetables, or any mashed tubers or root vegetables.

Yet regardless what it means in Italian, to me ossobuco means family, love, and comfort food. For a Latin twist on this recipe, use cilantro instead of parsley—or if you ask me, use both; lime instead of lemon, and white rice instead of risotto.

Romantic Times-A Perfect Dinner for Two-Photo2

For a Latin twist on this recipe, use cilantro instead of parsley—or if you ask me, use both; lime instead of lemon, and white rice instead of risotto.
Serves: 4

4 T unsalted butter
2 generous T of extra virgin olive oil
16 pieces of veal shank with marrow
Wondra for dredging, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
1 leek, white only, cleaned, sliced
2 small sweet onions, minced
1 celery stalk, diced or sliced
1 carrot, diced or sliced
2 c plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 T fresh sage, chopped
1 T fresh marjoram or oregano, chopped, optional
2 bay leaves
1/2 c flour
2 c vegetable broth, organic, low sodium
2 c dry white wine
Sea (Kosher) salt and fresh pepper, to taste
4 T garlic, minced
1 T shallots, minced
2 T lemon peel, minced
4 T anchovies, chopped
4 T fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh bread, rustic Italian, toasted or warm


  1. In a cast iron or shallow casserole heat the butter with the oil.
  2. Sauté the shanks on both sides until they are golden brown.
  3. Add the leek, onions, carrot, and celery. Continue sauteing the vegetables until they begin to color.
  4. Add the tomatoes, spices; mix and add the flour stirring until combined.
  5. Add the broth and wine. Lower heat, cover and let simmer for 2½ hours or until veal is super tender.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer to a heated serving dish or pot.  Skim the fat from the sauce and strain over the veal. Keep warm.
  7. For the gremolata simply combine the garlic, shallots, lemon, anchovies and parsley, and sprinkle on top before serving with two pieces of warm bread per dish.

Wine Options: Chianti, Valpolicella Ripasso, Amarone, or Malbec.

Accompaniment Options: Sautéed spinach with garlic and olive oil, carrot and parsnip purée, rutabaga and horseradish purée or rutabaga with fresh thyme puree; garlic mashed potatoes, roasted caramelized root vegetables, creamy garlicky risotto with sweet green peas.