Osso buco

Jill Dupleix
Jill Dupleix's osso buco.
Jill Dupleix's osso buco. Photo: William Meppem

Osso buco, Italian for bone with a hole, is one of the richest and most elegant braised dishes in the world, built on veal shanks, aromatic vegetables and wine. Traditionally made "al bianco" with white wine and no tomato, this version is more robust than most, punchy with red wine, tomato paste, anchovy and chilli.


4 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, halved and sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 carrots, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

2 rosemary sprigs or bay leaves

500ml (2 cups) chicken or beef stock

1.5kg osso buco (veal shanks cut into rounds)

3 tbsp plain flour, placed in a shallow bowl

300ml red wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tbsp orange zest

pinch of dried chilli flakes

flat-leaf parsley, to serve


1. Preheat oven to 160C (140C fan-forced).

2. Heat half the oil in a large frypan and cook the onion and celery for 10 minutes until softened. Add the carrot, garlic and rosemary, tossing well, cooking until they just start to brown. Add the stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Transfer to a large ovenproof, lidded casserole dish.

3. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and toss in the flour until lightly coated. Heat remaining oil in the same frypan and fry the meat, in batches, for 3 minutes on each side until brown and crusty. Arrange the meat in one layer on top of the vegetables in the casserole dish.

4. To deglaze the frypan, add the wine and bring it to the boil for 2 minutes, scraping any bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon (these bits add flavour). Add the tomato paste, anchovy, orange zest and chilli, stirring, then tip the lot into the casserole dish.

5. Place a cartouche of baking paper on top of the meat (see tip), cover tightly and cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours, turning the meat over once halfway through, until it is tender and almost falling from the bone. Allow to cool (refrigerate if you have time).

6. To serve, skim off any excess fat, then reheat. Scatter with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, pasta or rice, and buttered kale, spinach or green beans.

Tip: A cartouche will reduce evaporation and prevent a skin from forming. To make one, fold a sheet of baking paper in half, pierce it two or three times with the tip of a knife to allow air to escape, and trim it to fit on top of the meat inside the pot.