Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco with orange and lemon zest.
Fettuccine con Ossobuco di Vitello scomposto.
Ossobuco, meaning ‘bone with a hole’, is a wonderful traditional braised veal shank recipe from Milan. The veal shank is cut into ‘chops’ which are braised in white wine and stock and served with a gremolata (a chopped herb condiment which includes lemon zest). It’s traditionally eaten with either risotto Milanese (risotto with saffron) or polenta. Away from Milan, it is sometimes served with pasta, like in this pasta ossobuco recipe.
Ossobuco is one of my favourite Italian dishes and one of the first I mastered when I moved to Italy. Although, over the years, my version is has become slightly more contemporary than the original one. I started by following the traditional recipe but now like to add oranges to it and bake it with oranges, carrots and pumpkin. I just love both the colour and flavour this combination gives the dish.
Ossobuco is widely known and loved, especially here in Northern Italy. But, it isn’t often found in restaurants outside of Milan. (Another reason why I had wanted to learn to make it when I first moved to Italy 15 years ago). I think in all these years in Verona, I have found it, and of course eaten it, in restaurants only a half a dozen times. Perhaps the fact that veal isn’t a cheap meat and ossobuco takes time to cook, puts restaurant owners off including it on the menu. I’m not sure. I’m just brainstorming here!
Pasta ossobuco can be made with beef too.
Anyway, luckily veal ossobuco cuts can be found at most butchers and supermarkets. In Italy, you can also get beef ossobuco cuts which is a good alternative to veal for people who either don’t eat it or find it too expensive. I made this pasta ossobuco with veal. But I imagine beef would work well too. Although it might need a longer cooking time.
Pasta ossobuco involves cooking the veal in more or less the same way as one would for the traditional dish and then removing the meat and marrow from the bones to create a pasta sauce. I served it with fettuccine but other pasta such as tagliatelle or tagliolini would also go well with it. I think Northern Italian egg pasta is the best choice, since ossobuco is a Northern Italian dish.
Simple is so often best!
I found a number of pasta ossobuco recipes on Italian recipe sites. This was probably the simplest. But as Italian cuisine is where simple reigns supreme, I was right to follow this recipe. Apart from the meat all you need is some beef stock (preferably homemade), white wine, fresh parsley, flour, butter and lemon zest. I also added some orange zest because I’m obsessed with ossobuco and oranges!
The result was sublime! My Italian dinner guests were much impressed, which was great for my ego! I rarely serve guests recipes I’m trying out for the first time. However, on this occasion, I took the risk and it certainly paid off. If you like ossobuco and you’re a pasta lover (which you must be if you are reading this!) do give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!
If you make this pasta ossobuco recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
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Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco
- 320 g fresh fettuccine pasta (11oz) or tagliatelle or tagliolini (I used Giovanni Rana fresh fettuccine)
- 3 veal shank chops medium sized
- 1 Lt beef broth (33floz) homemade is better
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- all-purpose flour
- 1 lemon for zest
- 1 orange for zest
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 2 knobs butter
- 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
- salt for pasta and to taste
- black or white pepper to taste
- 30 g Parmigiano Reggiano (1oz) grated (optional)
- Wash the meat and pat it dry.
- Cut the outer rim of the ossobuco chops with small cuts along the edge (to prevent them curling up while cooking) and lightly flour on both sides.
- Brown in a frying pan or iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of heated extra virgin olive oil and a knob of butter for a couple of minutes each side.
- Salt both sides and add the wine, taking care not to wet the meat, but only the bottom or edges of the pan.
- Once the alcohol has evaporated, add some of the chopped parsley and 2 ladles of hot stock and continue cooking covered, turning occasionally and adding a few more tablespoons of broth every 10 minutes or so.
- After about 45 minutes, turn off and allow to cool down. (the meat needs to be very tender so if you feel it needs further cooking, cook for another 10-15 minutes)
- While the meat is cooking put a pan of water onto boil for the pasta. Add salt once it boils and bring to the boil again.
- Remove the meat from the pan. Cut it into small pieces and scoop the marrow from the middle of the bone.
- Put the meat and marrow back in the saucepan. Add a little more broth and another knob of butter and mix. Add the zest of half a lemon and half an orange and some freshly ground white or black pepper.
- Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly. Save a ladle of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
- If your sauce seems dry add some of the pasta cooking water. Stir and then add the drained pasta to the sauce. Mix everything together well so the pasta gets coated in the sauce.
- Serve immediately sprinkled with more parsley and grated Parmesan if required.