Few things are more delicious than Osso Buco. The beloved Italian favourite of Veal, slowly cooked over many hours, resulting in mouthwateringly tender meat and a rich, warming gravy. If you’re lucky, you might also win the meat lottery and find a little bone marrow in the shank too!
What is Osso Buco?
Osso Buco is the shank of the veal or beef. It’s the top part of the cow’s legs (see diagram below). It’s sliced thickly and includes the bone in the centre. As it’s a part of the cow that gets a lot of exercise, it’s a tougher cut of meat, which is why it’s almost always cooked low and slow.
The resulting meat is full of flavour and works as a dish on its own, usually served with polenta or risotto (traditionally the saffron infused Risotto Milanese) and a light sprinkling of the herb, lemon and garlic combination known as gremolata.
With tomato? Without tomato?
There are two schools of thought as to the perfect osso buco sauce to cook in a tomato based sauce or not… Both are common in Italy so no one method is more traditional. It’s a matter of taste – I’m not going to get drawn into an eternal Italian argument as to which is most authentic. I prefer a non tomato based sauce. It’s delicious! End of argument. :)
Are there other uses for Osso Buco ragu?
Yes! Once cooked, the osso buco gravy on its own is often used as a pasta sauce, stirred through thick ribboned pasta like pappardelle or fettuccini and served before the meat as a small appetiser. Or a lunch before the main evening meat event.
The leftover meat (there is leftover meat on occasion – ha!) is shredded into pieces and stirred into the remaining gravy to create a ragu sauce. This again, is stirred through pasta and served as a meal on its own. Much like the way I prepare my absolutely delicious Beef Short Ribs with Polenta.
Lastly, and the reason for this recipe – the meat is separated and shredded, mixed with a little sauce and used as a stuffing for pasta shapes like ravioli. A little braising gravy dresses the pasta when cooked. So as you can see, Osso Buco is a very versatile meat dish to cook at home. Feel free to skip the ravioli part completely and enjoy it as its own thing!
Creating perfect fresh ravioli
Today we’re focussing on making Veal Ravioli with the braised osso buco. If you’ve never made fresh egg pasta you should start by reading my How to make fresh egg pasta guide to get you primed. To feed four, we’re going to be using 8oz/220g of ’00’ flour and 5 eggs. You can read all about why ’00’ flour is a great flour for pasta at the Kitchn.
You could also think about buying a ravioli cutter to make light work of making the shapes, but it’s not essential you can create the perfect ravioli using a circular cookie cutter or small glass.
Three stages to winning at Osso Buco Ravioli
There are three stages to creating the ravioli. You can split these stages up if you prefer, or do them all in one go – I’ll often divide my prep over a couple of days but usually just do the whole thing in one day – honestly, it’s no sweat.
- Preparing and cooking the osso buco ragu
You can make this ahead and refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months in batches.
- Making the fresh egg pasta – use my how to make fresh egg pasta guide for technique.
You can make this ahead and refrigerate as a ball for 1-2 days or freeze for up to 3 months and thaw when you need.
- Roll, stuff and cook the pasta
Do this on the day you want to eat the pasta.
As I said, this can easily be done in one go but if you’re looking to save yourself time, pre-preparing some stages can be a great help.
So, without further ado, let’s get Raguuing!