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Osso Buco, the Perfect Dinner Party Fare for right now.

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What’s wonderful about this delicious entrée is that it only improves with a day or two in the refrigerator. And you just reheat it, mash some potatoes, toss a salad and a truly special dinner is on the table in no time.

             Osso Buco used to be one of those undiscovered and unbelievably inexpensive cuts of meat. My dinner guest the other night, Mary Haskin, reminisced that her mother, Easter Cassidy, used to toss the bone unceremoniously into every pot of meat sauce in their Long Island kitchen, so readily available and inexpensive it was.  Not anymore. When Osso Buco became so popular in New York that they named a restaurant after it, the price went through the roof. The name translated from Italian literally means ‘bone with a hole in it’.  But this has become one expensive bone.  At least in some places. I was honestly shocked to see a single veal shank at Fairway priced at over $16.00. That only added to that supreme feeling of accomplishment when I got home to my four veal shanks purchased for a little over $17.00 at, where else, Costco.

          It’s likely a good idea to ask your guests how they feel about veal before serving them this. I’m not going to enter into the fray but there are a lot of people who have reservations about the way veal is raised. “Plume de Veau”, the brand Costco sells, is owned by the Atlantic Veal and Lamb Co. and they go to great pains to laud their “total control of animal nutrition and well being”. I will take them at their word.

Osso Buco is a very easy thing to make. You brown the meat, you brown the vegetables, add some wine, some fresh orange juice and some chicken stock. You put that together with the veal in the oven, make a “gremolata”, a citrus and parsley garnish, and that’s it.

           In Italy, specifically Milan and the surrounding region of Lombardy, where it was invented,  Osso Buco frequently sits atop a risotto. But since that defeats our purpose of making dinner party food that lets the cook attend the party, we opt for mashed potatoes. You’re certainly free to cook some rice. But to make a proper risotto, not if you want out of the kitchen. 
          Here’s my recipe: I like a lot of citrus in the dish. I think it pairs beautifully with the flavor of the veal and complements the vegetables. This is completely expandable. Just double the portions for 8. Above that you may find yourself in need of a second Dutch oven.


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