This is originally a Williams and Sonoma recipe with a few minor tweaks.
Flour for dredging (I used WW pastry)
Salt and pepper
6 veal shanks (the recipe says about 6 lb, but my shanks were enormous – more than plenty for six people – and they only weighed 4.7 lb)
1/4 c olive oil
1 yellow onion chopped, plus 1/2 c more finely chopped one for the risotto (I used Maui sweet onions and I used an entire onion for the osso buco and another whole one for the risotto)
1 carrot, peeled and diced (I used three and didn’t peel them since they were organic)
1 celery stalk, diced (Again, I used more)
2 garlic cloves, minced (More! More!)
1 1/2 c dry red wine
11 cups meat stock (I used oxtail soup broth for the meat dish and homemade chicken broth for the risotto)
3 c arborio rice
1 c white wine
2 pinches of saffron soaked in 1/4 c warm meat stock (my first experience with these beautiful flower stigma – each flower only has three!)
1/4 c unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 c freshly grated parmesan
Gremolata (The traditional garnish for osso buco: grated zest of one lemon, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1/4 c minced flat-leaved parsley. This stuff seriously enhances the flavor of the meal.)
1. Dredge shanks in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
2. Brown the shanks well on both sides (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate.
3. Using the same frying pan, saute the coarsely chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until softened (3-4 minutes). Add red wine. raise heat and cook until thickened and reduced by half.
4. Add 5 cups of stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and return veal to pan. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for one hour. Uncover and cook until shanks are tender, about 30 minutes longer.
5. Meanwhile, start the risotto in another large pot with a heavy bottom. Using 1/4 c olive oil, saute the finely chopped onion until softened (4-5 min), add rice and stir until each grain is translucent with a white dot in the center (3-4 min). (I added almost two containers of crimini mushrooms, sliced, here.) Add white wine and stir until absorbed.
6. Add simmering stock one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait for the stock to almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Reserve 1/4 c to add at the end. When rice looks creamy, and is tender, but still slightly firm to the bit, add the saffron mixture, butter, cheese, and reserved stock. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Transfer risotto to a warmed platter. Top with veal shanks, sprinkle with gremolata, serve at once.
[Just read in Mark Bittman’s book that a proper risotto alla milanese is actually cooked with bone marrow. There was a lot of bone marrow in the shanks, but my mom and I (only) ate that part after the risotto had already been made. I know, I know, sounds gross, but that’s what we love…]