Rich, robust, and delicious, this Easy Osso Buco is a simple but elegant main course that comes together in one pot. You’ll love the bold flavor of beef shanks cooked in wine with garlic, herbs, and crushed tomatoes.
Osso Buco Recipe – A Classic Italian Dish
If you’d like to make something a little different for dinner but still easy, you should really try this recipe for authentic osso buco. This hearty, home-style beef dish is full of robust, meaty flavor, thanks to bone-in beef shanks. Cooked in wine, the meat is extremely well-balanced and tender, perfect for serving with your favorite comforting side dishes like mashed potatoes, homemade bread, or both!
Plus, osso buco is kind of a fancy dish, even though it’s really a simple and down-to-earth recipe. Like beef bourguignon, the combination of braising in wine with herbs and vegetables elevates the simple ingredients to make a complex, meltingly delicious main course that’s just as suitable for a fancy occasion as it is for a cozy weekend at home.
What is Osso Buco?
The recipe for Osso Buco is made with beef shanks or veal shanks, which come from the upper part of the leg. This cut of meat is very lean and tough, which makes it suitable for cooking low and slow and we will braise it in a flavorful liquid for over an hour. Once the meat is braised, it becomes fall-apart tender. So much so that some cooks tie kitchen twine around each shank to hold it together! The name “osso buco” means “bone with a hole,” which is a reference to the bone-in meat, with the marrow in the center of the bone slowly cooked out and melted away.
Ingredients For Osso Buco
- Olive Oil: For browning the beef and cooking the vegetables. If you like, you can substitute another oil, like avocado oil.
- Beef Shanks: This lean cut of meat takes a long time to cook, but is well worth the effort!
- Salt and Pepper: Freshly cracked or ground pepper gives the most intense flavor.
- Celery, Carrot, and Onion: Dice up the vegetables to flavor the sauce.
- Garlic: Mince up the garlic, or put it through a press.
- Wine: Use a full-bodied red wine that you enjoy drinking. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just tasty! Avoid using salted cooking wines that aren’t meant for drinking, since these contain added ingredients and can give an unpleasant flavor.
- Crushed Tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes are fine here. Imported Italian crushed tomatoes are generally considered to be sweeter.
- Beef Broth: To help balance out the braising liquid. Use low-sodium broth if you are concerned about the salt content.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme sprigs are great, or you could use dried thyme.
- Bay Leaves: Bay leaves add a pungent flavor.
- Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley is the perfect garnish. You can omit this, if you prefer!
How to Make Osso Bucco
If you’re familiar with the process of making homemade beef stew, then this will be a snap for you! It’s a tried-and-true method for creating a meaty, complex dish that’s full of flavor.
- Preheat the Oven, and Brown the Beef. Before you start cooking, make sure your oven is preheating to 350˚F. Then, heat a swirl of olive oil in a Dutch oven (or a braiser) over medium-high heat. Using paper towels, pat the beef shanks dry, and then rub them with a little more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then brown the shanks for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Cook the Vegetables. Remove the beef shanks from the Dutch oven and set them aside in a bowl or on a platter, covered. Next, place the Dutch oven back on the heat, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the diced celery, carrots, and onions to the pot, along with a little more oil, if needed. Cook the veggies for 4 minutes, stirring frequently, and then follow with the garlic and cook for just about 15 seconds before deglazing with wine.
- Deglaze the Pan. Pour the wine over the vegetables to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Make the Sauce. Let this mixture cook for about 8 minutes, and then stir in the crushed tomatoes and beef broth, along with the thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Braise the Beef. Return the browned beef shanks to the braiser, and cover it with the lid. Place it in the preheated oven and let it cook for an hour. When the time is up, the meat should be fall-apart tender. If it isn’t, let it cook for ten or twenty minutes longer.
- Reduce the Sauce. Once the meat is very tender, put the osso buco back on the stovetop. Take the beef out (you may want to use a slotted spoon for this) and set it aside in a clean serving dish. Turn the heat to medium-high, and let the sauce simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, until it reduces and thickens.
- Serve. Pour the sauce over the beef shanks, garnish with parsley, and serve warm.
Helpful Tips And Variations
- Thicken the Sauce: If you find that the sauce isn’t quite thick enough for your taste, mix up a cornstarch slurry and whisk it into the simmering sauce while it cooks. A teaspoon of cornstarch mixed into a little bit of cold water is all you need!
- Remove the Skin: Some beef and veal shanks are sold with a thin layer of fatty skin around them. You don’t have to remove this, but it can shrink during the cooking process and cause the shank slices to curl. For the best presentation, use a sharp knife and your finger to cut and peel it away from the meat and discard it. If you want, tie the beef with kitchen twine to keep it from falling apart.
- Substitute White Wine: Using white wine is also a great choice for osso buco! You can use any good dry white wine with a bold flavor.
- Substitute Veal: This dish is also wonderful with tender veal shanks. However, make sure not to overcook them, or the meat will be dry.
To serve this beautiful, rustic dish, I like to make a couple of sides that add texture and contrast, while still letting the osso buco shine.
- Mashed Potatoes: Rice, polenta, and pasta are all great starchy sides, but I particularly love classic Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
- Green Beans: Fresh green beans are such a refreshing side dish with a deep, tender braise like this. And you can’t beat the crispness of Easy Roasted Green Beans!
- Breadsticks: A flavorful favorite, these Easy Keto Breadsticks are a low-carb side that’s sure to please!
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
- Store leftover osso buco in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Reheat in a covered, ovenproof dish in a 350˚F oven until heated through.
- Osso buco freezes well and will keep in the freezer for up to two months. Just store the meat with its juices in freezer bags or airtight containers and mark it with the date.
More Dinner Ideas
Easy Osso Buco
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 beef shanks, about 3 pounds, total
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven or a braiser set over medium-high heat.
- Pat dry the beef shanks; rub with remaining olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Add the shanks to the hot oil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned.
- Remove the shanks from the pan and set aside; keep covered. Return the pan to the burner and reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the diced celery, carrots, and onions to the pan. Add more oil if needed. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds.
- Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook for 8 minutes.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes and beef broth; add in the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
- Return the beef shanks to the pan. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 1 to 1 hour and 20 minutes until the meat is fall-apart tender.
- Return the pan back to the stovetop and set it over medium-high heat. Remove the beef shanks and set aside on a plate. Cook the sauce for 5 minutes, or until reduced and thickened.
- Pour the sauce over the beef shanks.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
- Thicken the Sauce: For a thicker sauce, whisk in a cornstarch slurry made from a teaspoon of cornstarch and a couple of teaspoons of cold water.
- Remove the Skin: To prevent shanks from curling during cooking, peel off the fatty skin and consider tying the beef with twine for stability.
- White Wine Alternative: A bold dry white wine can also be used in osso buco.
- Veal Variation: While veal shanks are a delicious alternative, ensure they don’t overcook. Veal should reach an internal temperature of 145˚F.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.