Osso buco has always felt like this big secret I’m not in on. Finding veal or pork shanks. Committing to a long, slow braise. Pronouncing the fancy name. All this time, I’ve been under the impression that the dish required precision, patience, and less of a recipe than a feeling. I’ve thought about cooking it again and again, but I’ve never pulled the trigger.
I finally committed to osso buco our first week in Montreal, where we’re camped out through August. I’d taken the day off to explore the city via Bixi and meander over to the Museum of Fine Arts which, all art aside, is a stunning space in its own right. (The art was great too).
That light-filled beauty had me fooled, though. Less than two minutes into my half hour ride home, I was caught in an insane thunderstorm. You know. The kind where the temperature drops 15 degrees in moments and the sky crumbles into darkness. Where all noise hushes before a wall of rain slams down.
. . . . it was pretty incredible. There wasn’t a car to be found. But bikers and pedestrians were undeterred. We all cut our way through the downpour, laughing with a big ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ as we passed others. The experience had felt like a Montreal initiation of sorts. And by the time I’d sloshed back to our AirBnB in Rosemont, I was kind of giddy.
I was also freezing and dead set on cooking the most comforting, warming dish I could think up. Like a beacon, pork shanks were on sale at the store. Osso buco it is.
Turns out, osso buco’s secret is that it’s a dish for the lazy.
You need time — about two and a half hours — but just 20 minutes of work. You need patience, more as the smells permeate the apartment than anything else. You don’t need a recipe because osso buco is insanely easy.
Follow this template:
- Get soaking wet
- Pork shanks + wine + broth + aromatics
- Braise. Two hours.
- Strain. Keep sauce. Add butter.
Ok, fine. Here’s the recipe.