nosso buco

March 31, 2012

As many of you will know, osso buco is a Milanese specialty of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. With the recent reporting out of Harvard on red meat consumption and how unhealthy it is, I was thinking a little nosso buco might nosso be a bad idea. “If you really want to go for the lowest possible (risk), it does look like not consuming red meat at all, or a couple times a year, is where you’d want to be” says Dr. Willet, a red meat lover himself. This recipe has all the benefits of osso buco but without the bad stuff. Simply substitute the veal for some crisped-up tofu and you’ve got a recipe that even the Milanese would have to agree rocks.

1/2 cup olive oil

2 large blocks of firm tofu, cubed about 1″ x 1″

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine

1 cup veggie stock

1 1/2 cups stewed tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2 tsps chopped thyme

sea salt and pepper

Start with the tofu. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet. Toss the cubed tofu in the cornstarch until well-coated. and shake off the excess. Add them to the hot oil in batches so they aren’t too crowded. Fry, turning them as you go, until they are golden all over and have a thin crust. After they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the other 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until they are cooked and tender. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute or two until fragrant. Add the white wine and let bubble away until it’s reduced by half. Add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

When the sauce is just right and the tofu is done, add the tofu to the sauce and stir gently and minimally until the tofu is just incorporated. Serve with garlic smashed potatoes, and, for a really authentic nosso buco, with a gremolata of lemon rind, garlic, and parsley on top.