Grandma Termini’s Osso Buco

Grandma Termini’s Osso Buco
Photo by Con Poulos

Recipes, like talent, often skip a generation. Trying to recreate my grandmother’s osso buco, I had to rely on my sense of taste and memory to know if I got it right. According to my mother, I did! One of the best things about this dish is that, for the most part, it cooks unattended until just before you’re ready to serve, leaving more time to mingle with guests. You can serve this osso buco with a variety of sides, from pasta to polenta, rice or potatoes, but the traditional DeSimone plating calls for fettuccine.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Sea salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 veal shanks, 10–12 ounces each
  • ¹⁄₃ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1½ cups dry red wine
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 8 rosemary sprigs, for garnish
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1½ pounds cooked fettuccine (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Pour flour into a large shallow bowl. Add small amounts of salt and pepper. Dredge veal shanks in flour mixture, coating evenly. Shake off excess flour.

Add olive oil to a large cast-iron or enamel Dutch oven, and warm over medium-high heat. Brown veal shanks 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer veal to a large plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, celery and onion. Stir occasionally until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in tomato paste and garlic. Continue to stir for about 1 minute, until paste begins to bubble. Add wine, stirring intermittently until wine begins to reduce. Adjust heat, if necessary. Add canned tomatoes, beef stock, dried rosemary, thyme and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Using tongs, arrange veal shanks in pot. Cover pot, place in oven and cook for 2½ hours, or until veal is tender.

Transfer pot to stovetop. If sauce is thin, simmer over medium-high heat until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally.

To serve, place each shank in a shallow bowl or on a wide plate over optional fettucine. Ladle sauce over top and around the sides. Garnish each serving with a fresh rosemary sprig. Makes 8 servings.

Published on December 2, 2015
About the Author
Mike DeSimone
Lifestyle & Entertaining Editor

Reviews Israel, other Asia and other Africa.

DeSimone is a spirits, wine, food and lifestyle writer who has traveled extensively in his journalistic pursuits. Most recently he co-authored the book Wines of the Southern Hemisphere (Sterling Epicure, October 2012). Email:

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