Osso buco with lemon risotto is a meal that I first enjoyed at Mamma Maria in the North End around 1992, and has ever since been at the top of my list for company fare or special occasions. It can, however, be an expensive undertaking when made with humanely raised organic veal. But since I discovered Du Breton organic pork osso buco at Whole Foods a couple of years ago, I became an instant convert to this more affordable and just as delicate alternative at a fraction of the cost.
Spending Christmas alone with my husband, this was the entrée I planned when I found this perfect meaty 2.2 lb. package at WF for just over $15.
To complete the menu, we began with jumbo shrimp cocktail with my kick-ass spicy cocktail sauce, then home-baked artisan crusty bread, lemon risotto, sauteed broccolini, and apple-pear-cranberry turnovers, adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe.
Usually made for company, I cut my recipe in half – which means you may revert to full recipe by doubling it. This is adapted from a favorite Epicurious version. Allow for one meaty portion per person – even with the bone, there’s enough there to satisfy a hearty appetite:
ORGANIC PORK OSSO BUCO
4 cuts of Du Breton organic pork weighing about 2 lbs, each tied with kitchen string
1/4 cup all purpose flour for dredging
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion halved and sliced thinly
1 small carrot, 1 celery rib, and 1 clove garlic all finely chopped
1/2 cup each dry white wine and chicken broth
half the tomatoes from a 28-ounce can whole Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup halved calamata olives or other brine-cured olives pitted and halved
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 stems Italian parsley
2 strips lemon peel julienned
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley mixed with 1 small minced garlic clove and 1 tsp lemon zest
Preheat oven to 325º.
Sprinkle tied pork pieces with s&p and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In 3-4 quart Dutch oven large enough to hold the pork in one layer, heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp butter ovefr medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown well on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. Lower heat to medium, add remining 1/2 tbsp butter and sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, stirring until onions are pale golden. Add remaining stew ingredients, bring to a boil while stirring, and add the pork in one layer, turning once to coat with the sauce. Cover pot and braise in middle of oven about 2-1/2 hours. Remove strings and plate with the risotto, some of the sauce, and garnish with gremolata.