Pork Osso Buco with Gremolata

(you will need kitchen twine for this recipe)

serves 4

5 pork shanks, about 4 pounds (about 3½ pounds after skin is removed)

salt and pepper
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 - 2 cups dry white wine
1 or 2 cups of chicken stock
1 28-ounce can whole or pureed San Marzano tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 lemon, zested

Gremolata:

¼ cup packed finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 lemon, zested
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated

I like to remove the skin from the pork shanks. This is entirely personal preference and you can keep it on if you want.  The pork has plenty of fat, but I also trim any real big pieces of fat from the outside of the shanks.  I make sure not to trim all the fat off, though.  Take the kitchen twine and tie it around each shank, securing the meat to the bone.

Preheat oven to 325°F. 

Season the pork shanks on both sides with the salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Place the shanks in the pot and sear each side for about 3 -4 minutes, creating a nice crust. Work in two batches because the shanks most likely are not going to fit in the pot all at once for the searing process.  Remove the shanks from the pot to a plate.  Do not wipe out pot. Lower the heat to medium. 

Add the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot.  Add the chopped vegetables to the pot, including the garlic. Saute for about 6 - 7 minutes, until the vegetables soften.  Raise the heat a little and add the white wine and cook for about another 3 minutes.  Add a cup of the chicken stock and the tomatoes - if you are using whole tomatoes, just crush them with your hands as you put them in the pot.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste and lemon zest.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring, to blend the tomato paste. Return the shanks to the pot and nearly submerge them in the sauce. Add more stock if you need to. Cover with a tight fitting lid, place in the oven and cook for about 2½ hours. 

Meanwhile, make the gremolata by mixing the finely chopped parsley with the lemon zest and minced garlic.

Check the shanks - they should be tender.  Remove them to a serving platter and cut off the string.  Spoon some sauce over the shanks and serve the rest on the side.  Sprinkle the gremolata over the pork. Serve the pork with Saffron Risotto, polenta or pasta.

The Italian Dish

theitaliandishblog.com