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Oct 22, 2002 12:59 AM

Osso Buco??

  • y

Can anyone give me a good recommendation of a good place for Osso Buco and risotto milanese? It's one of my favorite dinners . But too time consuming for home preparation.

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  1. Hole in the Wall, on skokie blvd. in northbrook, has an excellent osso buco that is served over a good, but relatively plain, risotto.

    15 Replies
    1. re: WillG

      Will, you took the words out of my mouth. But it might be easier to find as Francesco's Hole in the Wall. Osso Buco is one of my childhood favorites as well; and it is a classic fall dish.

      I would encourage the original poster to try the recipe in Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking. If you time things right, Osso Buco and Risotto Milanese is one of the easier dishes to prepare, since it combines a slow-cooked, let it go all day element, the shanks, and an a la minute item, the rice. Get a good, heavy pot like a Le Cruset dutch oven, put it on a low heat and forget about it. If the risotto is too labor-intensive or expensive, polenta or even a courser grain like stone ground grits make great starches for osso buco.

      BTW, I had a very nice osso buco recently at Carlucci in Rosemont. The rice was markedly better than at Francesco's, where they use a drier, more seperate rice that doesn't seem to have enough gluten. In the city, I have a hard time finding it, other than as a weekend special. (My favorite was the long-departed (for Phoenix) La Locanda. That Marco! guy from Locanda, Risotteria Nord, and soon-to-open Ferrari in the old Marco! space makes the best.)

      1. re: JeffB

        Marco Conti, of the old Marco! did make a wonderful osso buco, as well as the best risottos in the city, IMHO. After explaining to me about a year ago that he never wanted to operate another trattoria ever again, (his personality was too wrapped up in the success of the place apparently,) he has just completed his latest reincarnation, the concept (his words)restaurant Ferrari. For this one he imported a chef from Mantova.

        It's been open two weeks. I haven't been. I have no idea what's on the menu, although I poked my head inside just before they opened. Interior decor is all Ferrari bright-red, and reeks of expensive elegance.


        2360 N. Clybourn

        1. re: joel

          Thanks for the recommendations. I'll gladly try to recipe referenced when time allows. Unfortunately, I'm traveling frequently this fall and my number of days available for slow cooking are numbered.

          However, I look forward to trying it out when my schedule slows down.

        2. re: JeffB

          Jeff, as much as it sounds like heresy, I use my crockpot for Osso Buco, and I buy the Mexican short grain rice for risotto, not quite as glutinous but not $5 for a little package either.

          1. re: dougk

            That's not a bad idea, Doug. Do you brown your shanks first? Are there any other adjustments that you make to the traditionally oven braised recipe such as amount of liquid used?

            1. re: YourPalWill

              I do brown them first and I go with a little less liquid. The beauty of it is that you can just walk away, go to work or whatever and it's hard to over cook them. I do enough high maintainence cooking that I love finding something I don't have to sweat over. I also lok for shanks with lots of marrow, if you let it go too long (which is hard to do) some of it can melt away and that's my favorite part.

            2. re: dougk

              Doug, I think crock pots are great. My secret shortcut appliance (not for osso buco) is the pressure cooker -- sort of the anti-crock pot because it's all action for a very short period. Got a good one from Spain and I'm not ashamed to use it, either. The single finest use I have found for the pressure cooker is birria, or Tapatio "BBQ." Throw some goat in there with a bunch of dried chiles and the other secret ingredients, and what should take all day is accomplished in a few minutes. Then I usually finish it off on the grill, saving the consome, of course. Works well with chicken too. And then there are black beans, and perhaps the toughst beans, garbanzos. It not only lets you "cheat" on cooking time, it speeds up the melding of flavors as well.

              1. re: JeffB

                And speaking of my pressure cooker, I make what I consider quite good risotto in mine. You can put the rice, stock, onion or shallots, & aromatics in the pressure cooker [for I think a mere 16 minutes] and then add the sauteed mushrooms, peas, shrimp, squash, cheese, or whatever your risotto ingredient theme is after the rice is cooked. Great results for minimal effort.

                1. re: Giovanna

                  Pressure cookers are a required ingredient for almost all indian cooking nowadays and the only way I am able to cook many of the dishes as they cut down the cooking time so dramatically.

                  I use it extensively, daal, rogan josh, yakhni etc.

                  1. re: zim

                    I have a pressure cooker, but so far I have only used it for canning, is this the same type of pressure cooker or should I look for something specific?

                    1. re: dougk

                      Do you have an old pressure cooker with the jiggle valve, or one of the newer, safer, spring-valve ones? You can use either one for cooking and canning. I'm making split pea soup with a ham hock from Miesfeld's in Sheboygan (purveyors of Wisconsin championship brats) tonight in my pressure cooker. I second the above posts-- the pressure cooker is marvelous for all manner of beans and dals, stews, and rissotto.

                      1. re: Jen M.

                        Regarding risotto in the pressure cooker, I'm intrigued. Does the rice come out creamy, yet al dente in the center? I don't trust my timing instincts well enough to risk turning good rice and saffron into a gummy mess. Maybe I could start with the PC and finish with my trusty wooden spoon.

                        For the previous poster, I have used both kinds recently, and they both work well. My Cuban mother-in-law swears by the semi-dangerous 50's-vintage model with the jiggling weight to start her beans. I've got the spring-valved Fagor model wich allows you to adjust the pressure. BTW, I'll add stocks to the list of things made better by pressure cookers. Turns bones into gelatin in no time.

                        Finally, Zim, did you see the Tony Bourdain show where he visits London and confesses his pressure cooker-phobia to his Indian-British hosts who use it for everything?

                        1. re: JeffB

                          I have one of those newfangled electric programmable pressure cookers that doesn't have a valve on the top. It has a number of different settings, including "brown".

                          To make plain rice, I take whatever type of rice I intend to use, rinse it, and put it with salt and the final volume of water for 15 minutes at low pressure.

                          For risotto-style rice, I sauté onions, garlic, and raw meat like pancetta in oil until cooked, add Arborio rice then add water or stock, only enough to make the rice cook up al dente. When the time is up, I release pressure, open it, and stirring, on "brown" add more stock, cream, and other ingredients which may have suffered from overcooking on pressure. The additional liquid will be absorbed shortly and make a nice creamy rice.

                          I've found you can cook dry black beans in the pressure cooker, but generally it's better to soak beans, takes less time and the result is better. Sauté onions and garlic (if used) in plenty of oil. My cooker's instructions say to use an enormous excess of liquid and then throw it out, but if you experiment, you can get it down to the desired finished product. Also, fat or oil reduce foaming. After soaking, rinse well, again, to minimize foaming, which can cause a kitchen disaster if you clog your vent.

                          1. re: ironmom

                            Thanks. Foaming is no problem for Ms. Gomez's beans-- she/we use almost as much Carbonel olive oil and lard as beans in the family recipe!

                      2. re: dougk

                        This is the same. A friend of mine swears by it for beans. I'm nervous about them so haven't used them. I do use a crock pot throw everything in in the morning go out all day come home dinner is ready.

          2. Hole in the Wall, on skokie blvd. in northbrook, has an excellent osso buco that is served over a good, but relatively plain, risotto.

            1. Try Rossini's in Niles. (Milwaukee Ave. just north of Dempster)
              I've had their Osso Bucco on several occasions--- It has yet to disappoint me.

              1. j
                Jack Caughran

                Bice serves a classic osso buco. Just like the one in The Harry's Bar Cookbook.