Pasta Ossobuco with orange and lemon zest

Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco with orange and lemon zest.

Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco in white terracotta bowl

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.

Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco close up in white and terracotta bowl

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.

Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco ingredients

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 floured veal cuts on white plate

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 veal cuts cooking in frying pan

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.

Pasta Ossobuco veal cuts cooking in frying pan

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!

Pasta Ossobuco chopped veal in frying pan with orange and lemon slices

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!

Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco veal and pasta in frying pan

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!

Buon appetito!

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pasta ossobuco

5 from 4 votes
Pasta Ossobuco close up in white and terracotta bowl
Fettuccine Pasta Ossobuco
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

This fettuccine with ossobuco is surprisingly easy to make and sublimely delicious. If you love Italian ossobuco and you are a pasta fan, you'll love this Italian pasta recipe!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy
Keyword: fettuccine, Italian food, Italian recipe, lemons, oranges, osso buco, ossobuco, pasta, pasta recipe
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline DeBono
  • 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)
  1. Wash the meat and pat it dry.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Salt both sides and add the wine, taking care not to wet the meat, but only the bottom or edges of the pan.

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

  8. Remove the meat from the pan. Cut it into small pieces and scoop the marrow from the middle of the bone. 

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Serve immediately sprinkled with more parsley and grated Parmesan if required.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can also be made with beef ossobuco. Cooking times may be longer. I used fresh fettuccine but tagliatelle or tagliolini would go well too. You can also used dried pasta if you don't have fresh pasta. 

fettuccine pasta ossobuco

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  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    August 15, 2019 2:19 pm

    I’m also always nervous cooking a new recipes for dinner guests but goodness it feels good when it turns out amazing! Great work!

  • Avatar
    Jere Cassidy
    March 25, 2018 10:04 pm

    Ossobuco isn’t something offered much in my area. Great to see your photos and technique on preparation. The dish looks delicious.

    • admin
      March 28, 2018 4:11 pm

      Thanks so much Jere! You can also make this dish with beef shank cuts ‘ossobuco’ if you can’t find veal easily! I’ve made it with both. The beef requires slightly longer cooking! Hope you’ll get to try it. All the best from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    March 25, 2018 5:43 pm

    So yummy and easy! Love it

    • admin
      March 25, 2018 6:34 pm

      Thanks so much Stephanie! I love this recipe too because as you say, it’s pretty easy and really delicious! I hope you’ll give it a try! Salute da Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Catherine Brown
    March 24, 2018 5:14 pm

    Had to come back and rate this one!! KUDOS!

    • admin
      March 25, 2018 6:36 pm

      Wow thank you Catherine! I’m thrilled you like this recipe so much! I hope you’ll try it and let me know how it turns out! All the best. Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Kiki Johnson
    March 24, 2018 5:09 pm

    A pasta version of one of my favourite Italian meals? GENIUS! Any leftovers for me?

    • admin
      March 25, 2018 6:38 pm

      Grazie KiKi. Ossobuco is also one of my favourite Italian dishes and it works so well with pasta! Sadly there were no leftovers, which I guess is a good sign! Greetings from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Catherine Brown
    March 24, 2018 5:05 pm

    Oh WOW! Orange AND lemon… how fantastic is that??! I can taste this already!! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Constance Smith
    March 23, 2018 1:43 pm

    I agree, simple is usually much better. I must say I do love your additions though. Looks AMAZING!

    • admin
      March 25, 2018 6:41 pm

      Thanks so much Constance! Yes the orange and lemon zest really finish this recipe off nicely. It’s superlicious and def worth trying. Greetings from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Nicole Tingwall
    March 22, 2018 1:44 pm

    There’s nothing like fresh pasta with simple ingredients! My dad LOVES ossobuco! Definitely making this for him

    • admin
      March 25, 2018 6:56 pm

      Thank you Nicole! Yes some of the best pasta recipes are made with just a few simple ingredients, like this one. That’s what makes pasta such a great food! All the best. Jacqui

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