Laugh, Social Sundays

Social Sundays – Osso Bucco, Risotto Milanese, and Apple Crostata with Video!

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It is now fall, my favorite time of year to cook, so I thought we would kick off this season with some Italian comfort food.  Italian food is actually the most popular type of cuisine here in the states – no surprise.  The traditional dishes are rustic and warm and play on flavors of each region in Italy. This Sunday I thought we would cook from Milan and make some of their favorite dishes.

Osso Bucco is a classic veal shank dish that is slow roasted in a broth until it is almost fall-off-the-bone tender.  The sauce cooks down into a tomatoey sensation and surrounds the succulent meat gently.  The warm tastes are perfect this time of year and are especially nice for a Sunday meal.

Risotto Milanese is a rice dish infused with saffron for an earthy flavor.  The al-dente grains absorb the yellow-hued saffron crocus and create a delicate, but savory side dish.  This risotto is most commonly served with Osso Bucco, so I thought we would stick to tradition today.

Apple Crostata is a rustic apple tart.  I created a video to make it much easier to follow along and bake this luscious treat.  Remember it is just the beginning of apple season, so stay tuned for more apple baked goodness.

Enjoy your Social Sunday and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @genamariebell or leave a comment here on my blog.  Happy Cooking.

Apple Crostata



1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter

1/2 cup ice water


6 large Gala or Granny Smith

1/2 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top

2 teaspoon cinnamon

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon butter

(Makes 1 Crostata)

Osso Bucco


2-4 veal shanks, 1 1/2 inches thick

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon butter

2 carrots

2 stalks celery

1/2 white onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon tomato paste

14 ounce can plum tomatoes, drained

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken broth

5 sprigs fresh thyme

3 sprigs fresh oregano

salt & pepper

olive oil


8 fresh basil leaves

zest of 1 lemon

1 anchovy

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon whole pistachios, shelled

2 tablespoon olive oil

(Serves 2-4)

To Prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice carrots and celery.  Dice onion, set aside.  In a dish, add flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Place shanks on top of the flour mixture and toss to coat lightly.  In a dutch oven with fitted lid, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil and place over medium high heat.

2.  Add the shanks to the pan and sear on each side for 4 minutes.  Remove the shanks from the pan, set aside. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic saute for 5 minutes.

3.  Deglaze the pan with white wine, stir to incorporate any bits from the bottom.  Add the tomato paste, tomatoes and chicken broth, stir. Add shanks back into pan and their juices. Place the thyme and oregano in the pan.  Cover the pan with with lid and place in the oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours, add more time if your shanks are thicker cuts.

4.  When fork tender, remove the shanks from the pan and set aside.  Remove the herbs and vegetables with a slotted spoon, discard.  Turn the heat on low under the sauce and stir until nicely thickened.  You can add more stock to thin if needed.

5.  To make Gremolata, place basil, lemon zest, anchovy and salt into a mortal & pestle or small bowl. Mash until coarse mixture, then and add pistachios and olive oil, mash again until combined.  Place shanks back into pan and spoon sauce over shanks to coat.  When ready to plate add shanks on top of risotto and top with a teaspoon to Gremolata, Enjoy!

Risotto Milanese


1 small white onion, diced

1 clove garlic

2/3 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice

1 teaspoon saffron threads, found in fine grocers

2 cups chicken broth

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

olive oil



fresh basil, optional

To Prepare:

1.  Sweat the onions and garlic in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and stir to combine. Toast the rice in the onion mixture for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Risotto Milanese with Shaved Zucchini 012 (560x560)

2. Heat the broth in a microwave safe measuring cup for 2 minutes.  Then, add the saffron threads and 1/4 cup of broth to the rice mixture, stir to combine.  Continue cooking the rice over medium heat for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

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Risotto Milanese with Shaved Zucchini 024 (560x560)

4.  Repeat this step of adding 1/4 cup of broth to the rice and occasionally stirring, 6 more times over the next 30 minutes, reserving the last 1/4 cup of broth.  The rice will turn a bright yellow hue.

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Risotto Milanese with Shaved Zucchini 029 (560x560)

5.  Immediately, turn off heat stir in the Parmesan cheese and the last 1/4 cup of broth.  Spoon the Risotto Milanese on each plate and top with one shank.  Enjoy!

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