Beef Osso Bucco is a comforting beef recipe that is perfect for dinner. With a rich tomato sauce, red wine and beef broth your tastebuds will be tantalised to perfection. A classic dish for a dinner party where everyone will rave about your cooking skills! This braised beef shanks recipe is packed with a trio of sautéed vegetables in addition to juicy diced tomatoes loading the dish with taste and texture with a whole lot of yum 😉.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Everyday ingredients: the ingredients needed are each simple and readily available. If your supermarket doesn't have beef osso bucco (beef shanks cut crossways), you will be able to get it from your local butcher.
- Straightforward and simple: this easy recipe is fuss free and effortless. Once you have prepped the ingredients, it is only a matter of throwing it all into the pan and and letting it cook. The rich sauce and tender meat result from the preparation of complimentary ingredients.
- Decadent dining: you might want to make this Italian recipe for a family gathering, partner, friend that you haven't seen in a long time or for a special occasion. The connective tissue breaks down during the cook time resulting in tender, fall apart meat. It really is an impressive looking tasting that is not overly tricky to make, resulting in Italian comfort food at its finest 😁.
- Easily adaptable: if you refer to my substitutions and variations section, you will see that there are options to use different proteins or make slight changes to switch up the recipe.
- Freezer friendly: once the dish is cooked and cooled, portion into containers for easy meals when you don't have the energy or time to cook!
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Olive oil: added to the pan to allow us to brown the beef.
- Bay leaves: these get added to the top of the dish before putting the lid on and placing the pan in the oven. The bay leaf impart an aromatic flavour to the recipe and you will need to remove then prior to serving.
- Oregano: a great pairing for cooking with beef.
- Onion: Skin peeled and finely chopped.
- Garlic: chunky minced garlic from a jar or you can use fresh garlic cloves and finely chop them.
- Salt and black pepper: we season both sides of the beef before browning in the pan on the stove.
- Beef bouillon cubes: these are also known as stock cubes and add an extra level of flavor to the osso bucco.
- Tomato paste: thick and robust, this ingredient adds a lovely tomato flavor, perfect for Italian cooking!
- Celery: is one of the trio of vegetables we sauté on the stove. It gets cut into small pieces which soften during the cooking process.
- Carrot: these need to be peeled and chopped into small pieces using a knife and chopping board.
- Red wine: I use Pinot Noir as I find it a smoother less gritty red than Shiraz. You can also use Merlot if you wish.
- Beef stock: also known as beef stock, it is one of the 2 main liquid components of the recipe.
- Diced tomatoes: try and purchase the variety that don't have any additional herbs and are simply plain tomatoes (no need for 'Italian style diced tomatoes').
- Gremolata: an optional way to garnish the finished dish. We combine finely chopped fresh parsley, lemon zest and garlic. It adds a citrusy zesty touch! 😁👌.
- Beef osso bucco: you will likely need to get this from your local butcher. Most supermarkets these days don't sell it cut in the manner you need for the recipe. If is is not something you can see in their display window, ask if they can prepare it for you. It is a popular slow cooking meat as you cut a cut of beef with bone in. As the bone marrow cooks, it softens and the nutritious marrow tastes amazing when consuming the finished dish.
Tasty Tip: I like to offer a number of substitutions and variations to give you options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe below 👍😉.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by seasoning both sides of the beef with salt and pepper. Next we brown the beef on the stove using the olive oil.
- Season both with salt and pepper (Photo 1)
- Brown both sides in pan (Photo 2)
- Sauté carrot, onion and celery (Photo 3)
- Add garlic, oregano and tomato paste (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Beef Osso Bucco
Start by placing the beef onto a chopping board and season both sides with salt and pepper. Then add the olive oil to a large sauté pan, place it on the stove top, use tongs to transfer the beef into the pan and cook on medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes each side.
Once browned, remove the beef and place on a layer of paper towel on top of a chopping board.
Without rinsing or cleaning the pan next add the carrot, onion and celery. Cook these, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.
Then add the garlic, oregano and tomato paste.
- Add the diced tomatoes (Photo 5)
- Then add the brown beef and crushed bouillon cubes (Photo 6)
- Pour in the red wine (Photo 7)
- Followed by the beef stock (Photo 8)
Continue stirring the dish as you add the diced tomatoes to the pan, then crush the bouillon cubes into the pan and use the kitchen tongs to place the braised beef shanks back on top of the sautéed vegetables.
Next pour the red wine into the pan, followed by the beef stock. We add enough liquid to the pan that the browned shanks get nested into the mix, cooking for a long period in a moist environment.
- Add the bay leaves, pop the lid on and into the oven (Photo 9)
- Gather the gremolata ingredients (Photo 10)
- Add them to a small bowl (Photo 11)
- Stir to combine (Photo 12)
Once you have put the pan into the oven to cook, you can make the gremolata. This easy combination of parsley, zested lemon and garlic adds taste and texture to the dish and is a great garnish to finish it off.
- Oven bake the osso bucco for 1 hr and 30 mins (Photo 13)
During the cook time, you can remove the pan at 30 minute intervals, use oven mits to place on a heat proof surface, remove the lid and rotate the beef to the other side, then gently push it down again into the liquids. I like to do this to keep a close eye on how it is cooking and part take in the cooking process right till the very last minute.
If you do this, the oven will let out a huge waft of hot air when you open the door, so let that dissipate before you stick your face in there😁👌.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
When it comes to serving the beef osso bucco, you have plenty of options. Polenta (as seen in the photos throughout the post) is easy and has great textural contrast to the chunky vegetables and meat.
Or you could go all out, be traditional and make a saffron risotto (risotto alla milanese).
Couscous is another easy pairing, so is rice and both will provide a nice balance as well as allowing you to drizzle some sauce over the top to tie it all together.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Next day osso bucco is even better than the day is was cooked!
Store leftovers in sealed, air tight containers or plates with cling wrap. They will last for 3 days and they can be frozen also.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool. Then portion into containers and seal with a lid. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months and are best thawed prior to reheating. ie not reheating from frozen.
How to Reheat
The microwave is the quickest and easiest way to reheat leftovers. Simply cover and heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until the dish is heated through. You can also add leftovers back to a pan on the stove, if doing this a couple of drops of olive oil will help to ensure they don't stick and the clean up is less time consuming!!
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can switch up the protein for the recipe and use lamb, veal shanks or pork.
- A dry white wine can be used in place of the red - Pinot Grigio is a great choice.
- You can used crushed tomatoes in place of the diced tomatoes (less texture, but same flavour).
- Mushrooms can be used an alternative vegetable if you are not a fan of carrots or celery.
- Thyme or rosemary are alternate herbs that you can use in place of the dried oregano.
- If you don't want to make the gremolata, you can simply garnish the dish with finely chopped fresh herbs.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Some people like to use kitchen string to tie the meat so that it doesn't fall off the bone. I prefer to not take this step and I use a flat silicon utensil to 'lift' the beef transferring from pan to serving plate.
- Some recipes will also call for dredging the beef in flour before braising, I prefer not to do this as I believe that the searing of the beef locks in the flavour and the flour step is extra work that doesn't deliver extra deliciousness.
- Kitchen tongs are super handy to handle the beef. A flat silicon utensil also helps to lift the beef from the underside.
- You will need a large pan with high edges to hold the volume of meat, liquids and sauce in. A Dutch oven is a great idea or a pan where the meat can stay in one flat layer as shown in the photos throughout the post.
- Don't be too worried if your pan gets quite full when pouring the liquids in. You will need to be gentle when transferring in and out of the oven, however, there is nothing in the dish that will 'rise'.
- A small spoon is handy when serving the dish as the eaters will love to scoop the marrow out of the bones for a true osso bucco dining experience!
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What cut of meat is beef osso bucco?
Beef osso bucco uses beef shanks that have been cut across the bone. This is how the term 'osso bucco' unfolds as 'bone with a whole' in Italian.
Is osso bucco tough meat?
Osso bucco is a tough meat, however, when cooked in the oven in a juicy tomato wine broth, the meat breaks down and results in literal 'fall off the bone' meat.
What does osso bucco taste like?
Osso bucco has both sweet and savory flavours. The broth delivers a meaty savory taste and the wine a sweet light fragrant aroma and flavour.
Do you eat the marrow in osso buco?
Yes, eating the marrow in osso buco is part of the enjoyment of the dish. This can be reached with a small spoon and is melt in your mouth tender and highly flavoursome.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Dinner can be the easiest meal of the day with some handy recipes up your sleeve to whip out as needed. Here are some ideas that I know you will love!
- Oven Baked Pork Ribs
- Baked Meatball Subs
- Garlic Pepper Beef
- Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese
- Sweet and Sour Ribs
- Marinated Lamb Ribs
- BBQ Lamb Ribs
- Pasta Alla Gorgonzola
- Spaghetti Alla Bolognese
- Spaghetti Gorgonzola
It is time to get a little beefy my friend!
Beef Osso Bucco
- 1 Large sauté pan or Dutch oven
- 1 Chopping board
- 1 Knife to chop the carrots, onion and celery
- 1 Hand held grater to peel the carrots
- 1 Kitchen Tongs
- 2 Paper towel
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5kg/3 pounds beef osso bucco cross cut beef shanks, about 1 inch thick
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (cooking salt)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper (cracked black pepper)
- 2 cups carrot peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup celery finely chopped
- 1 cup onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 800 grams/ 28 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 cubes beef bouillon
- 1 cup/250 ml beef stock
- 1 cup/250 ml red wine
- 2 bay leaves
Gremolata (optional garnish):
- 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ tablespoon garlic minced
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Season beef: use kitchen tongs to place beef onto chopping board in one flat layer. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Sear: add olive oil to pan, turn heat to high, place beef into the pan and sear for at least 3 minutes each side to brown the meat. Once browned, remove and transfer to a chopping board with layer of paper towel.
- Vegetables: without rinsing the pan, add carrot, onion and celery, fry for 2 to 3 mins on high heat. Then add the garlic and oregano, stir to combine and allow to cook for a further 2 to 3 mins.
- Sauce: add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the pan. Turn the heat to low and allow the dish to simmer.
- Beef: use kitchen tongs to place the browned beef shanks back into the pan on top of the tomato vegetable mixture. Crush the bouillon cubes with your fingers and sprinkle into the pan also.
- Stock and wine: pour in the wine, followed by the beef stock. Place the bay leaves in the middle of the dish.
- Oven bake: place a lid on the pan and transfer to the middle shelf in the oven. Cook for 1 hour 30 mins. You can remove during this time at 30 minute internals, place on a heatproof surface and use tongs to rotate the beef to the other side.
- Gremolata: add the finely chopped parsley, lemon zest and minced garlic to a small bowl and use a teaspoon to stir and combine.
- Polenta (optional): cook the polenta according to the packet instructions, in a pan on the stove, add 2 teaspoons of butter and stir to combine.
- Serve: portion the polenta onto plates. Place the beef osso bucco onto a heatproof surface in the centre of the table and provide serving utensils.
- Garnish: place the gremolata in a small bowl on the table for garnish, alternatively provide finely chopped parsley and cracked black pepper for serving. Enjoy!
- Note 1 - Beef: you will likely need to get this from your local butcher and request that they cut this for you. Also, you can reduce this to 1kg/2 pounds for my American friends, yet keep the rest of the dish the same. (It will cut down the cost slightly and works if you are feeding less people).
- Note 2 - Carrots: this is 2 x medium to large sized carrots, measured it is 2 cups.
- Note 3 - Celery: this is about 4 stalks or half stalks once you cut the leafy tops and wider white bit off the end.
- Note 4 - Onion: this is 1 medium sized onion peeled and chopped.
- Note 5 - Diced tomatoes: opt for the plain tins of these ie the ones that don't have additional herbs or spices. You can use crushed tomatoes, however they will have less texture.