Osso bucco

February 8, 2012  •  Category:


Italy is not far from Lebanon; to say that the Lebanese love Italian cuisine is stating the obvious. Osso bucco or lasagne verde  was served at  sidewalk cafés in Beirut as far back as I remember. The Italian influence was not even  limited to food, since even centuries ago Italian architects and decorators were commissioned by local princes and sheikhs  to design palaces and mansions.

 All of this to say that I could not imagine living without the occasional Italian dish, like osso bucco on a cold winter night.

Found a huge cookbook in my parents’ library, Ada Boni’s Il Talismano de Felicità; well, I was surprised to find that theirs does not call for tomatoes and is simply veal shanks braised in wine and broth and the final stir of flavor is adding chopped parsley, lemon peel, garlic and a bit of anchovy. And plenty of butter.

This recipe has tomato sauce as well as wine and some onion, celery and carrots. 


  • 4 thick veal shanks (with bones)
  • flour, as needed
  • oil, as needed (or clarified butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 cups of  chopped tomatoes (peeled and seeded) or tomato sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup of chopped onion, carrot and celery
  • 1 tbsp of mashed garlic
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • rind of a lemon or orange (or a mixture of both)
  • 1 tbsp of anchovy paste (optional)
  1. Season the veal shanks and dip them in flour; heat some oil and brown the shanks on all sides. Set aside. Fry  the onion, celery and carrots till soft. Place the veal shanks back in the pot and pour the white wine, scraping the pot. Let the wine reduce by at least half or entirely and add the optional tomato sauce. Let the stew simmer very gently for at least one hour or longer, until the shanks are tender.
  2. A few minutes before the end of cooking, add the garlic , parsley, rind of lemon and anchovy and swirl it around to distribute the flavor. Serve the shanks with buttered pasta, a risotto or boiled potatoes.


21 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A scrumptious looking osso bucco! I love the addition of citrus rind.



  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    A classic! I can almost taste it here….

  3. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Osso bucco is an excellent hearty winter dish to make and eat, nice!

  4. Diane says:

    I love marrow bones so this will go down well with me 🙂 Diane

  5. T.W. Barritt says:

    Based on your description, I don’t think I would miss the tomatoes. Sounds pretty heavenly – especially with all that butter!

  6. paula mello says:

    Wonderful with polenta!! I love it!!

  7. Christine @ Fresh says:

    I was not aware that there was such an Italian influence in Lebanon. Osso bucco is one of my favorite winter dishes. Tomatoes are a necessity and the anchovy paste sounds like it would add good depth.

  8. Claudia says:

    One of my favorites – nice to see a new one – the citrus is brightening. And I haven’t made osso bucco yest in 2012…

  9. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    This reminds me of a dish my mother used to make for the family. She always complained about cooking, but her dishes were always creative and homey. It’s very interesting to learn about the cross-cultural connections between Italian and Lebanese cuisines.

  10. domi says:

    Bonsoir Joumana, voilà un plat que je connais bien et que j’apprécie…comme beaucoup de cuisine italienne….bisous et passe une douce soirée

  11. Susan says:

    This is truly a delicious comfort food! I haven’t had osso bucco for far too long and this recipe sounds wonderful. if I can find some nice veal shanks I would love to try it. Look that that beautiful marrow bone!

  12. Mary says:

    This is one of my favorite winter braises and your version of it really sounds wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  13. Jeannie says:

    Oh my goodness! That looks so delicious! Would love to try this!

  14. Jeff says:

    I’ve always wanted to try making osso bucco, but just never really got the opportunity to do it. I think it’s one of those “Must try” menu items. It definitely looks good for a cold winter night! I’ll have to consider this one!

  15. Nuts about food says:

    The chopped topping of parsley, zest, garlic etc. is called gremolata. A step not to be missed!

  16. Devaki says:

    That has got to be one of the best osso bucco’smy eyes have every feasted on. I am going to go buy me some shanks asap and fix this. I KNOW we would just love love love this. Will keep you posted and if I can’t find the veal shanks, I’ll use lamb.

    Such a great staple dish in the kicthen Joumana 🙂 HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO YOU & YOURS 🙂

    chow 🙂 Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  17. La tavola toscana says:

    Hello Joumana!
    I’m a fan of your blog and this is the right chance to keep in contact with you…
    Even if I’ll commit mistakes in this comment, please let me rectify some errors you made in this post (I’m italian):
    – Osso buco
    – Lasagna verde (singular) or Lasagne verdi (plural)
    – Il talismano della felicità (a milestone of cookbooks)
    Nevertheless the recipe is exact (and tasty, and delicious!) and I feel proud you love our cuisine; I’ve no idea that was so appreciate in Lebanon.
    Kisses from Tuscany!

    • Joumana says:

      @La Tavola toscana: Thanks so much for rectifying my mistakes! I was not sure about the ending of the words and am glad you set it right! Thanks!

  18. Oui, Chef says:

    I’ve been dying to make osso bucco this winter season, perhaps with your inspiration I’ll finally get off my fat @$$ and do it!

  19. Mely says:

    Osso Bucco is a regular in my home since it is a favorite of my husband. Yesterday I tried you recipe and love the smooth flavors.



  20. Caffettiera says:

    A classic from one of my favourites cookbooks ever – the one both my grandmothers used. We do add a tiny bit of tomato here, but it is an afterthought and not the star, really.

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