Osso bucco means “bones with a hole”. Its a classic recipe from Northern Italy. The cut comes from the shin so needs some slow cooking for a really tender and tasty dish. The holes in the bone contain the marrow that imparts the extra depth to the dish.

There are a few stages to go through however it is a fairly easy dish to prepare and the end result is well worth the effort.

Typically the meat is served with Risotto Milanese and a sprinkle of Gremolata – a fresh citrus infused garnish that is a perfect counterpoint to the richness of the dish.

As with many traditional dishes there are many, many variations and combinations that all share the same name. Have a go with the recipe below then try it with your own improvisations and favourite ingredients. Other typical variations swap white wine for red, omit tomatoes or add Pancetta or Porcini mushrooms.

Ingredients for Osso Bucco

for 4 persons

4 ossi buchi (cross-cut shin) -These are nearly always available in the shop fresh or frozen More on our beef here

Plain flour for dusting the meat before frying

Salt and pepper

Olive oil for frying the meat

Butter 120g  – Half for frying the meat (with the oil). Half for softening the vegetables

1 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 medium red onion

2 celery stalks

2 garlic cloves

4 salted anchovies

1 large glass of red wine

Osso Bucco Preparation

Season and dust the meat in flour then brown in the oil and half the butter in a large solid pan or cassarole – best with a lid. Remove the meat and put to one side.

Using the same pan finely chop the onion and celery and soften till browning in the remaining butter (NB if there is a lot of burnt flour from the meat remove before this stage as it will taint the flavour of the finished dish). When nearly soft add the chopped garlic and chopped anchovies. (The Anchovies will just melt away but add greatly to the final flavour without being fishy.)

Add the wine

Add the tin of tomatoes and allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

Return the meat carefully to the pan laying each piece flat. Add water (or stock) so the meat is covered. Even if your pan has a lid lay a sheet of grease proof paper on top, this will stop your meal from drying out. Put into pre heated oven (150°c, Gas 2, 300°f ).

Cook for 2 hours or until tender. Check after 1 hour and top up liquid if required.


Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, 1 large garlic clove very finely chopped or grated and a handful of flat leaf parsley chopped. Mix these together and sprinkle over meat when served.