Osso Buco is one of those whimsical things that everyone knows about but no one ever really orders.
How often do you have the pasta class in a good Italian restaurant? We usually never do. But if I see osso buco on the menu, I usually make room to order it. How can you not love a slowly braised, melt in your mouth shank of beef in a bone marrow tomato sauce? Sometimes you even get a teaspoon for the bone marrow. It’s usually the best thing on the menu. Osso buco is even often served with pasta, so a win-win!
But best of all, you can do it at home in an hour on the Instant Pot for 1/4 the cost. It tastes like you being a slave in the kitchen for hours. It’s perfect for special occasions but easy enough that you can have it any night of the week.
What is osso buco?
Osso buco is an Italian dish of veal shank braised for a very long time in a sauce infused with bone marrow and white wine from Lombardy. The long ember time melts the connective tissues of the stem and leaves you with meat that melts in your mouth. It tastes amazing because the cut of the stem is a complex muscle filled with connective tissue that breaks down. Because it’s slowly braised on the bone (Osso Buco means perforated bone), the bone marrow infuses the sauce and gives it incredible richness and flavor.
Historically this recipe did not include tomatoes because they are a new world crop, but nowadays almost everyone makes it with tomatoes. This version we’re making today takes it a step further with a fresher-tasting passata tomato sauce instead of the classic canned tomatoes.
How to make osso buco
- Brown your beef shanks well on both sides. I use the Instant Pot setting on high heat for 2-3 minutes per side with a splash screen on top, and honestly, it works better than doing it on the stovetop. The high sides of the instant pot mean much less splash and mess.
- Cook your herbs. Transfer the beef shank to a plate or something else to collect the juice, then add the aromatics and cook until tender and translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Deglaze with wine. Add the wine and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the instant pot with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook the wine until it is reduced by half, at least 2 minutes.
- Braise. Add the beef shank, passata and herbs to the instant casserole dish and braise on high power for 1 hour. You will be rewarded with the most tender and run down meat ever.
Osso Buco Instant Pot
Osso buco is classically all-day braising business, but if there’s one thing the Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker) excels at, it’s overwhelming ember times for those kinds of dishes. This is by far the best option, in my opinion. If you don’t have one, you can cook it by simmering until soft on the stovetop – it will just take longer, around 4-6 hours. You can also brown the meat and herbs in an ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, then transferring them to a 250-300 ° F oven for 4-6 hours. If you’re going on the stovetop or in the oven, come back every now and then to make sure your liquid isn’t too low.
The special dinner and relaxation
Traditionally there are a lot more ingredients and steps in this dish, but here I have kept it to the bare minimum and let the flavors speak for themselves. Before writing this recipe, Steph and I went to a very famous Italian restaurant. We tried their 24 hour osso buco made with extra veal shank and marrow bone. It was amazing, but this one compares favorably – and is much easier.
The biggest step I took out was the flour dredge. Usually people dredge the shank in flour and use it to brown the meat and thicken the sauce. I don’t think it needs it, the thickened bone marrow sauce is more than enough and the flour is always messy. If you want to do this, it will add a bit more body to your meat and sauce.
Veal shank vs beef shank
The default meat choice for osso buco is veal, but I found it quite difficult to find veal shank. It’s worth researching if you want to stay true to the original. You should be able to find it in your neighborhood butcher’s shop or a large supermarket. Beef also tastes good (if not better) and is much easier to find. It is often even cheaper, although veal should technically be a cheaper meat.
Ingredients of osso buco
- Shank is an inexpensive cut that should be easy to find. If you can’t get it at your local grocery store, whole foods will have beef shanks (but not veal).
- Herbs make a bouquet garni. I just threw in a sprig of oregano because that’s what we had and it was great. If you have bay leaves, fresh thyme, fresh Italian parsley, etc. on hand, feel free to add a little more. Otherwise, skip – the recipe does not need it.
- Passata is an uncooked filtered tomato puree. I chose the passata because the fresh tomato flavor really brightens up the dish, but if you have a can of regular old crushed tomatoes, feel free to use it.
- White wine. The wine adds complexity and authenticity to the dish that cannot be replaced. If you must be alcohol-free, you can substitute it with sodium-free chicken broth.
How do you serve it?
Osso Buco is usually served with risotto, gnocchi or pasta, but we like ours with bread or on its own. If you plan to eat it on its own, you may want to double the recipe to get enough meat for 2 people.
If you wanted to really go over the top (say for a Valentine’s Day dinner at home) a tiny bit of caviar makes this one of the most extra surfs and terrains you can do at home. .
Easiest Instant Pot Osso Buco Recipe Ever
Osso Buco is no easier than 6 ingredients and 1 hour of cooking.
- 1/4 Medium onion chopped
- 1 small carrot chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic sliced
- 1 slice veal or beef shank about 1 pound
- 1 Chopped off White wine Favorite Italian Pinot Grigio / White
- 1/2 Chopped off passata or crushed tomatoes
- 1-2 strands fresh herbs I just used 1 sprig of oregano
Roughly chop the onion, carrots and garlic.
Preheat your Instant Pot to blow up high and add 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Pat your shanks dry and season generously on both sides with S&P.
Once your instant pot is hot enough (for me it’s about 2 minutes later when it beeps) Brown your shanks 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Remove the shank and add your onions, carrots and garlic. Cook until tender – 2-4 minutes.
Add the wine and deglaze by scraping up the brown pieces with a wooden spoon. Reduce until about half of the wine remains – 2-3 minutes.
Add the passata, herbs if using, and the shanks to the pot. Set the pressure to high and braise for 1 hour. Quickly release when done and serve, garnish with grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, red pepper flakes and flat parsley, as desired.
Easiest Instant Pot Osso Buco Recipe Ever
Quantity per serving
Calories from Fat 128
% Daily Value *
Large 14.2 g22%
Saturated Fat 5.3g33%
Cholesterol 203 mg68%
Sodium 175 mg8%
Potassium 1142 mg33%
Carbohydrates 8.9 g3%
Fiber 1.2 g5%
Protein 69.7 g139%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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