This classic braised beef from Northern Italy is the world's best make-ahead dish - it tastes even better the second day. Accompany it with saffron risotto or rice.
6 1-1/4 inch-thick beef shanks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (available at Texas Olive Ranch)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 cups finely diced yellow onion (about 2 medium onions) (available at La Esperanza Farm)
1 cup finely diced celery (about 2 stalks)
3/4 cup finely diced carrot (about2 small carrots)
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, juices reserved
1 cup low-salt chicken broth, more if needed
1 large sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. flour mixed with 2 tsp. broth or water
For the gremolata:
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large cloves garlic, minced (available at La Esperanza Farm)
1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
2 anchovy fillets, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Tie the beef shanks around the middle with kitchen string and season them with salt and pepper. Put flour in a dish. Dredge the shanks very litghtly in the flour, thoroughly shaking off excess.
Put shanks in a 9 x 13 pan in a single layer. In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Put three veal shanks in the pan and sear until nicely browned on both sides, two to three minutes per side. Move the shanks to the roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining three shanks.
Carefully pour off the fat in the pan and wipe it out with paper towels. Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter and one Tbsp. of olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrot, oregano and one tsp. salt. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, 15-20 minute4s. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon until the wine is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about three minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the broth, thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil and pour the contents of pan over the shanks. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Braise the beef shanks in the oven until fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, checking the liquid occasionally. If it has cooked down, add enough broth keep the level about halfway up the shanks. To test for doneness, pierce a shank with a fork. The meat should fall apart easily. Taste a piece. It should feel soft and tender. Do not overcook or the beef will fall apart.
Gently brush most of the vegetable bits off the shanks. With a wide, flat spatula, carefully transfer the beef shanks to a dish. Strain the pan juices through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids with a spatula to extract as much sauce as possible. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Whisk in the flour mixture and cook briefly to thicken.
Make the Gremolata
Just before finishing the sauce and serving, combine the parsley, garlic, lemon zest and anchovies. Add two Tbsp. of the gremolata to the sauce. Remove the strings from the shanks. Serve the osso buco topped with the sauce and a small sprinkling of the remaining gremolata.