Every so often, I like to splurge a bit and make something a little fancy, possibly a little out of my (cooking) comfort zone, and definitely decadent. It was one of those “so often” times and I chose Osso Buco with a not-so-traditional Mushroom Risotto. Osso buco is traditionally served with Risotto Alla Milanese, made with beef stock, bone marrow and lard and cheese, and saffron. I chose Mushroom Risotto since I felt it was easier and we love anything mushrooms.
Osso buco can really be made from most kind of meat shank (lamb, pork, beef) but I decided to go with veal since the Mister loves veal osso buco. Most of the osso buco recipes I found were similar. The one I chose to use was Giada’s since it had lots of rave reviews and I’ve had lots of success with her recipes in the past. I chose Emeril’s mushroom risotto recipe because it sounded straightforward, and again, it had very good reviews. You can find Giada’s veal osso buco recipe here, Emeril’s mushroom risotto here.
The toughest part of this meal was finding veal shanks. Luckily Bisher’s Quality Meats had some frozen ones and I didn’t have to drive too far to get them. These puppies were not cheap and by the time I finished paying for them (total of $55.55) , I was thinking “this better be the best damn osso buco we’ve ever tasted!” Actually, it would have really only been about half that price but I bought extra because I had something else in mind for the leftovers. And that post is to come.
As an afterthought when I got home, I should have had the butcher cut each of the shanks in half since that would have been easier to braise. But there is a certain flare in serving a ginormous shank on a plate! I mean look at these monsters! Each shank was about 4″ tall. I knew at this point I bought just a wee bit too much shanks. Four would have been plenty for 2 meals and the extra leftover meat I needed. That’s okay, I’ll just freeze the extra and have it another time.
As usual, I tweaked the recipe just a bit to account for doubling the meat portions. I also added quite a bit more vegetables. It took about 2 hours for the shanks to get to the “fall-off the bone” stage. Since the shanks were quite large, it was a bit tougher getting the dark browning like the the picture on Giada’s page (again, probably should have had the butcher cut them in half). I’m thinking next time I might try Ina Garten’s method of browning the meat in the oven rather in a Dutch oven. That could effectively brown all the shanks more evenly.
For the risotto, I used white mushrooms, Portebello, and dry shitake that was reconstituted. I left out the truffle oil and the prosciutto. I pulled off all the stems on the mushrooms and then made a simple mushroom stock with the stems and dry shitakes. This helped reconstitute the shitakes as well as make about 1 1/2 cups of mushroom stock for the risotto. Can’t have enough of mushroom flavor for me! The recipe calls for 2 cups of arborio rice and it is a lot! That recipe can easily feed 6-8 people. So even halving the recipe would still provide some leftover for two people.
It was such a decadant meal. As the Mister said, “definitely not a meal for anyone on a diet!” One shank per person was more than enough. And that’s a person with a big appetite. Oh, and that mushroom risotto…to die for! I thought it was a perfect compliment to the osso buco. The Mister said, “I know risotto is tedious to make and you always complain when you make it (no I don’t…maybe just a little), but this is so damn good!”
I could have easily served 6 people with the amount of veal shanks and risotto I made. There you go. A “damn good” restaurant-style osso buco and mushroom risotto made at home for about $14 per person. How can you go wrong with that?