Traditionally, ossobuco is preapred without tomatoes, however nowdays this version is pretty forgotten. The dish originates in the North-Italian Lombarida, where it was cooked without tomatoes and even without olive oil, as butter was more common in the north part of the country.
The ossobuco al pomodoro is prepared with peeled and deseeded tomato slices and a bit of tomato puree. The version prepared in the Toscana uses red wine instead of white. Last weekend I prepared ossobuco in bianco, the traditional white ossobuco, for lunch, that I served with its traditional side dish the risotto alla milanese with saffron and beef marrow.
According to some sources ossobuco in bianco is flavoured with bay leaf and cinnamon and of course the gremolata, that is mixed into the sauce some minutes before it is ready in order to aromatise it with the fresh flavours of lemon and parsley with a touch of garlic.
4 slices cross-cut veal shanks
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
150 g onion
150 g celery stalks
150 g carrot (not included in the traditional version)
200 ml white wine
400 ml veal stock
1 bay leaf
1 piece of cinnamon stick (optional)
a bunch of fresh parsley
1 garlic clove
zest of a small lemon
Heat olive oil in a large iron pot and fry seasoned and with flour dusted veal shank slices from both sides until golden brown, then set aside. Add butter and sautee vegetables over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Pour white wine over it and reduce by half, then place meat on top, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick (if you use) and pour stock over it, then put it to the oven and braise for 2 hours on 160°C-on. Once in while turn the meat, so that it cooks evenly and you might need to add some stock as well. Some minutes before it is ready add the germolate. Simply chop parsley, garlic and lemon zest, give it a good stir and let it stand for 5 minutes. If you do not want to serve it rustical, then sieve the sauce and bind it with a few chunks of cold butter.