Nonna Yole’s osso buco

Nonna Yole’s osso buco

Dean Cambray

Most people have a dusty bottle of port lurking around in the back of a cupboard, and here’s a great way to use it up. Osso buco is a classic Italian recipe that uses the veal shin, cut through the bone into thick chunks. It’s a brilliant slow-cooked dish that really makes the best of what seems to be a bony and rather mean cut. You end up with meltingly soft meat and a juicy knob of marrow to suck from the bones. It may not be elegant, but it’s delicious.

Ask your butcher to cut your osso buco pieces from the hind shin, as they have more meat on them than those from the foreleg.

This osso buco recipe comes from my Nonna Yole.


Quantity Ingredient
1/4 cup olive oil
2kg veal shin, cut crosswise into 5 cm slices
100g butter
4 anchovies
10 garlic cloves, crushed
2 onions, diced
1 carrot, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
200g olives, pitted
50g capers
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
1 cup port
1 litre tomato passata
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup basil leaves


Quantity Ingredient
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped, (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole and brown the veal pieces all over. Transfer the browned veal to a plate and keep warm.
  3. Add the butter to the casserole and when it starts to sizzle add the anchovies, garlic and onion. Sauté over a medium heat until the anchovies begin to melt. Add the carrot and celery and sweat for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the olives, capers and bay leaves to the casserole then pour in the wine, port and tomato passata. Season with salt and pepper and stir in half the basil leaves.
  4. Bring to the boil then lower the temperature to a simmer. Cover the casserole and transfer to the oven for 1½ hours, or until the meat is meltingly tender. Check the casserole from time to make sure that the meat is always covered with sauce.
  5. Once the veal is cooked, remove the casserole from the oven. If the sauce is too thin, remove the lid from the casserole and boil vigorously on the stovetop for 5–10 minutes until reduced.
  6. Mix together the gremolata ingredients and scatter onto the osso buco just before serving.
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