Osso Buco with Soft Polenta

Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Italy with this classic and comforting dish of Osso Buco served with soft polenta. Hailing from Milan, Osso Buco features succulent, slow-cooked veal shanks in a flavorful broth, while the creamy soft polenta provides the perfect canvas for soaking up the rich, aromatic sauce. This combination of tender meat and silky polenta is a beloved Italian tradition that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Ingredients (4 servings):

For the Osso Buco:

  • 4 veal shanks (osso buco), each about 2 inches thick
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef or veal broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Gremolata for garnish (mix of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley)

For the Soft Polenta:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Prepare the Osso Buco:

  1. Season the veal shanks with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and dredge them in flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the veal shanks on all sides. This step adds depth of flavor to the dish.
  3. Remove the browned veal shanks and set them aside.
  4. In the same pot, add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Sauté them until they become tender and aromatic.
  5. Pour in the white wine and allow it to simmer for a few minutes, reducing slightly.
  6. Return the veal shanks to the pot.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes, beef or veal broth, bay leaf, rosemary, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
  8. Cover the pot and let the Osso Buco simmer on low heat for 2-2.5 hours, or until the veal is tender and the sauce has thickened.

2. Prepare the Soft Polenta:

  1. In a separate pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Gradually whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to low. Cook the polenta, stirring constantly, until it thickens and becomes creamy.
  3. Stir in the whole milk, butter, and salt. Continue to cook and stir until the polenta is soft and creamy.

3. Serve:

  1. Divide the soft polenta among serving plates.
  2. Place a veal shank on top of the polenta.
  3. Spoon the flavorful Osso Buco sauce over the veal.
  4. Garnish with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and a spoonful of gremolata.