Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

12.2.04

Fast-track Osso Buco. Slow food purists, go back to sleep.

While February is usually Melbourne's hottest month, but yesterday was our coolest February day for some years.

So, a perfect night for Osso Buco, something you associate with winter. This was fast-track Osso Buco -sorry to the purists - but as I said earlier, if you don't cheat occasionally, you'd go very very hungry trying to be 'authentic'.

Chopped onion and garlic in the heavy-bottomed pan with deep sides (what do you call that thing?). Chuck in some olive oil and the cross-cut veal shanks in a layer. A tablespoon of tomato paste, a can of diced tomatoes, a cup of diced celery, the same amount of diced carrot, a cup of white wine and a half a litre of stock. Throw in some chopped parsley, salt and pepper and maybe a bay leaf.

Now simmer away for as long as you like, checking the stock level. It's cooked when the meat falls off the bone and/or you start salivating.

Meanwhile, cook some polenta. When it's done, layer some over your plate - it should be a nice consistency - place your Osso Buco in the middle, some of the vegetable over that, then some of the juices over the lot and garnish it with that mixture of grated lemon rind, parsley and garlic called gremolata.

Any red wine suits this perfectly, although since you've already opened the white, drink that first.

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