Ossobuco (marrowbone) is a typical delicacy of Milanese cuisine and is often served on a bed of yellow Risotto alla Milanese.
The name comes from ossbus, which means a ‘bone with a hole’ in the local dialect and refers to the cut of veal that is used: a slice of the shin in which the round section of bone is surrounded by tender meat. The bone is filled with tasty marrow that can be scooped out with a spoon or the customary tool, a small scooper, which is referred to with some irony as the esattore (tax collector).
The recipe for ossobuco, which is lightly coated in flour before being placed in the pan to fry, appeared in cookbooks as early as the 18th century. Over the centuries it has been elaborated and modified in a variety of ways, such as with the addition of tomato sauce.
An essential ingredient to this dish is the gremolada, a finely-ground paste of garlic, lemon peel and parsley, added just before serving for an extra dash of colour and taste.
Other variants include side dishes such as peas, carrots, beans, mashed potatoes, or the addition of diced bacon to the butter and onion in which the meat is fried. Ossobuco is also a good match with polenta, another staple of Lombard cuisine.