I have wanted to make and eat Osso Bucco for the longest time and what a perfect excuse when Leopard’s Leap asked me to collaborate on a recipe with me. They wanted me to do a one-pot winter comfort dish to pair with their Culinaria Collection Grand Vin, which is a robust Bordeaux blend that deserves to stand up to something special.

I did a deep dive into researching a recipe and discovered that Osso Bucco is rather controversial. Hailing from Milan, there is debate over whether you include tomatoes or not. Many purists will say a tomato should never go anywhere near the dish, but there are so many well-respected chefs and food writers that insist on including it. I came to the conclusion that there really are two types of Osso Bucco. The Bianca version, which is without tomato and then then the tomato version which is more widely used. I felt that I wanted my version to have tomatoes.

I cooked this recipe in the oven, low and slow and on Saturday, and then reheated it and made the risotto Milanese to serve it with on Sunday. It was utterly delicious and now goes down as one of my all-time favourite comfort meals. Apart from a little prep, it’s one of those magnificent things that derives all its magic from the time it spends cooking itself slowly.

As veal shin is very difficult to come by, I used beef. I think when I make the Bianca version I will try source veal. I served it with risotto Milanese that is essential. I made a version without marrowbone because there was all the delicious marrowbone in the Osso Bucco so I didn’t feel it needed more. I did, however, finish it off with a rather generous wedge of butter. Risotto really needs the fat to give it the silky unctuousness that makes it perfect. I omited the Parmesan cheesse too. This dish is incredinely rich, I dont think it needs the cheese. Also, White wine should be used in the making of Osso Bucco not red. Keep the red for drinking with it.

A classic Osso Bucco recipe with risotto Milanese

A classic Osso Bucco recipe with risotto Milanese

A classic Osso Bucco recipe with risotto Milanese

A friend advised that I should rather make a double batch and he was so right. If you are going to take the time to cook this, you really want leftovers. I’ve frozen off a few portions for those nights when I want something comforting and easy.

Grand Vin is a Bordeaux-style blend with complex layers. Aromas of vibrant red fruit, black currant and blueberry, perfectly integrated with subtle oak spices and a hint of dark chocolate in the after-taste. The ripe tannins ensure a firm, elegant structure. A sincere wine that will complement well-prepared red meat dishes.

A classic Osso Bucco recipe with risotto Milanese

Recipe – serves 6 – 8   – Adapted from Janice Trapepi

Osso Bucco

6 bone-in beef or veal shin – cut 4 – 5 cm thick
olive oil to fry
½ cup flour
salt & pepper
knob of butter
2 onions finely chopped
4 medium carrots, cut into small dice
2 celery stalks
4 cloves garlic, minced
400ml dry white wine such as Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc
2 cans of chopped peeled tomatoes
500ml chicken stock
Bouquet garni of a few sprigs of each of the following tightly tied together: rosemary, sage, thyme & bay


3 Tbs finely chopped Italian parsley
zest of a lemon
1 clove garlic minced
pinch of sea salt flakes

Risotto Milanese (enough for 4)

Knob of butter and a splash of olive oil
½ white onion very finely chopped
1 cup Arboria rice
1 Tbs saffron threads
½ cup dry white wine
+- 800 – 900ml hot chicken stock
about 50gms butter to finish

To make the Osso Bucco, season the meat very well on both sides with salt and pepper. I prefer to do this and not season the flour. Then lightly dust the meat in the flour shaking off any excess.

Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the meat on both sides until turning a light golden brown. Do this in batches and then keep aside with the juices.

In a large cast-iron pot, heat the knob of butter and add the onions, carrots and celery. Sweat this off for about 5 minutes and until it has softened and just starts taking on colour then add the garlic. Deglaze the pot with the wine and allow this to cook off and reduce – about 4 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and the bouquet garni and season well with salt and Pepper.

Bring this to the boil on the stovetop and cook for about 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 140C. Pot the pot into the oven with the lid on and cook for a further 2 – 3 hours. I found 2 hours was adequate but I did reheat it for about 30 minutes the next day. At this point, the meat was starting to fall off the bone but the marrow was still intact. You want to make sure that it doesn’t cook too much.

To make the risotto, heat a knob of butter and add a splash of olive oil into a heavy-based pot. Fry the onion for a few minutes until softened but do not take on any colour. In a small bowl put about ¼ cup of the hot stock and add the saffron. Allow this to infuse.

Add the rice and coat this in the fat and cook for a few minutes to get it warm and toasty. Add the wine and allow this to be completely absorbed before you slowly start adding the hot stock ladle by ladle full. Stirring constantly. Cook the risotto over medium-high heat. About halfway through add the saffron-infused stock and you will see the colour of the risotto turn to a vibrant yellow. The risotto is ready when the liquid has been absorbed but there is still quite a lot of silky sauce and the rice is slightly al dente. At this point, add the butter and allow it to emulsify into the rice. You will now have a wobbly silky sauce around the rice.

Serve immediately with the Osso Bucco and gremolata scattered on top.

A classic Osso Bucco recipe with risotto Milanese

This post is proudly sponsored by Leapard’s Leap Wine


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  1. I’ve only made osso bucco once, and I used tomatoes. I don’t honestly think you can get Italians to agree on anything when it comes to their traditional recipes! Yours is beautiful, and of course the photos are stunning.

  2. Ingrid Wilson

    Love this and love your recipe. I make an identical version of Ossobuco alla Milanese taken from Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook ( my Italian cookery bible!), the only addition being 2 strips of lemon peel to the stew as she doesn’t serve her Ossobuco with gremolata. I think gremolata is a welcome and traditional garnish, but if I’m feeling lazy I omit it and add the lemon peel!

  3. Sam

    Thanks and I think the lemon peel will be amazing too.

  4. Sam

    Thanks Rachel – Its a firm favourite of mine too and worth all the effort to make a big batch.

  5. Sam

    Thanks so much Mimi and I agree, I think there is often so much debate around the authenticity of Italian recipes

  6. Sam

    Thanks Ilse xx Your lamb dish is next on my list

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