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Singlefile Wines

Phil's Favourite Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto and Gremolata

Phil's Favourite Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto and Gremolata
Recipe Date:
22 April 2020
Serving Size:
Cook Time:
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of sage
  • 4 large cross cut beef shanks (2kg in total)
  • 1 freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 20 ml olive oil (for Osso Bucco)
  • 3 celery sticks cut into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 2 small carrots cut into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 1 white onion diced into 2.5 cm pieces
  • 0.75 l beef stock
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup chopped parsley, packed
  • 2 tbs best olive oil (for gremolata)
  • 1 tbs olive oil (for risotto)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 tbs white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 pinches Saffron threads
  • 1.5 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter

Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto and Gremolata is a classic hit of Milanese cuisine by courtesy of chef Iacopo Falai (Casa Lever, New York) and tested by Wine Spectator’s Rori Kotch.

The Singlefile 2018 Frankland Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine of oomph, is Phil’s perfect match for this dish. It displays complex aromas of black currant, plum and cassis, with savoury earthiness and gentle oak support. The wine is effortlessly mouth filling with juicy dark fruit flavours balanced with acidity and gentle fine grained tannins which lead to a long finish.

The colour and delicate floral lift from the saffron risotto offsets the concentrated bone marrow sauce and the bracing gremolata.  The wine, which is smooth and sturdy, has the tannin structure to pull out some of the richness of the dish giving a satisfying flavour balance to the entire experience.


Cheesecloth and kitchen twine


Add the wine and 1 cup water to a large saucepan and heat over high.  Cook until reduced and the consistency of molasses, about 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside.  While the wine reduces, preheat oven to 180° C and place the thyme, rosemary and sage on a square of cheesecloth.  Tie the cheesecloth into a bundle with cooking twine to create a bouquet garni.

Season beef shanks with salt and pepper on both sides.  In a 25 cm cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven large enough to hold all of the meat in a single layer, add olive oil to coat and heat over medium-high.  When hot, add beef and sear both sides until well-browned, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove meat from the pan and transfer to a cutting board, reserving the fond (the browned bits and drippings) in the pan.

Lower the heat under the skillet or pot to medium.  Add celery, carrots and onion, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes.  Transfer the beef back to the pan. Add the beef stock, bouquet garni and reserved reduced wine to completely submerge the meat, adding more stock or water if needed.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting, oven-safe pot lid, transfer to the oven and roast for 2.5 to 3 hours, until the meat is fork-tender and falling off the bone.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata.  Zest the lemon using a Microplane zester, or use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest into strips, then chop thinly.  Chop the parsley and combine with the lemon zest and the 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.  Set the gremolata aside.

When the beef is fork-tender and falling off the bone, remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 120° C.  Remove and discard the bouquet garni, transfer the veal to a plate and cover with foil, leaving one end slightly open so the steam can escape.  Transfer the cooking liquid into a bowl, then strain it through a fine-mesh strainer back into the skillet or Dutch oven, pressing down on the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard the solids.  Set the cooking vessel over high heat and bring the contents to a boil to begin reducing the liquid. (It should take about 15 minutes to become thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.)

While monitoring the reduction of the pan sauce, start the risotto.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium in a medium pot.  When the oil is shimmering, add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.  Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes.  Add enough vegetable broth just to cover the rice and continue to stir.  When the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes, add more broth just to cover the rice.

At this point, transfer the covered plate of veal to the oven to keep warm.  Continue to check the pan sauce, stirring with a spoon from time to time; turn off the heat when it coats the spoon.

Continue the risotto-making process—let the broth be absorbed before adding more broth, stirring frequently—until all broth is absorbed and the rice is creamy but still al dente, about 20 minutes total. Stir in the saffron, Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the beef from the oven; it should be just warmed through.  Spoon some risotto onto each of four dinner plates and top each with a beef shank.  Spoon some sauce over the beef, and top with the gremolata and a drizzle of olive oil.


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