Ossobuco Alla Cipriani

Ossobuco is a classic Milanese dish that is made with slices of veal shanks that are braised in a tomato based broth until they are tender enough to be eaten with a fork. The name ossobuco translates to ‘bone with a hole’ because the cut of veal shows the circular cross section of the shank surrounded by meat.

This ossobucco recipe is from Harry’s Bar in Venice, which is famed for it’s invention of the Bellini and classic Italian food that have attracted the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart and many others.

We tried this recipe on Sunday night and it was fantastic.


Harry’s recommends for you to ask your butcher for the hind shanks because they are meatier and more tender than the front ones and not to remove the membrane that surrounds the meat.

Ossobuco Alla Cipriani recipe adapted from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 1 ½ – 2 inch slices of veal shank
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour for dredging
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ lb mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 to 4 cups hot chicken stock or beef stock

For the gremolada:

  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary


Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed casserole or Dutch oven large enough to hold the veal slices in a single layer (it’s very important to keep them in only 1 layer).

Season the veal with salt and pepper and coat the pieces with flour, shaking off any excess.  When the oil is hot, add the veal pieces and cook over medium heat, turning once, until they are browned.  Try not to let the veal curl up at the sides.  Remove veal from the pan and set aside.

Pour off the fat from the pan and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the celery, carrots, onion and mushrooms.  Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until they are soft – about 15 minutes.

Turn up the heat, add the white wine, and boil, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated.  Stir in the crushed tomatoes and 2 cups of the hot stock.

Carefully arrange the veal slices in the casserole dish in a single layer and spoon the vegetable mixture over them.  If the liquid does not cover the meat, add more stock.  If you need more than 4 cups of stock to cover the meat, then you should transfer everything to a smaller casserole dish.

When the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover the casserole tightly, and simmer gently for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the meat is very tender when pierced with a fork.  Uncover the casserole during the last 30 minutes of cooking to reduce the sauce a bit.  (Alternatively, you could bake in the oven at 350F for the same length of time0.

While the meat is cooking, chop the ingredients for the gremolada and combine them.

Ten minutes before serving, remove the meat to a deep serving platter and keep it warm.  Boil the sauce to reduce it a bit more if it’s very thin.  Stir in the gremolada and simmer for a minute or 2.  Then spoon the sauce over the meat.  Serve with Risotto or other accompaniment.


2 responses to “Ossobuco Alla Cipriani

  1. This is a splendid dish that tastes wonderfully. Serve it with a risotto a la Milanese.

  2. Pingback: 427. From The Couch: Match #5 | Ned Davy and The Order of The Black Heart

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