What light dish should I serve with osso buco?

I'm cooking my boyfriend's birthday dinner and am planning to serve osso buco, risotto, and (for dessert) creme brulee. These are all really rich and heavy dishes, so I'd love to round it out with a vegetable and/or salad that would really complement the meal and provide some lightness.

Any thoughts that would pair well with these rich dishes?

  • Posted by: J
  • January 14, 2022


Nancy January 16, 2022
Dear J -
More or other thoughts on menu planning.
To answer your basic question, what light dish to serve with Osso Buco, risotto and crème brûlée - not necessarily any. Adding a light dish to such a menu will not change it's basic nature...a hearty meal of meat, carbs, dairy and sugar, suitable to the depths of winter.
If you want to revise the menu, step back and ask yourself what's the organizing principle or main dish, then develop the menu around it.
It could be, as 702551 suggests, a favorite dish of your boyfriend. Or the dessert, to make a splashy finish to the birthday meal. Or a main dish, like the Osso Buco or another veal dish (piccata, schnitzel, Parmesan). Or texture and dietary concerns like lightness.
Just a concluding note - you may not be able to achieve all your aims in one menu, so again, choose a focus and stay with it.
702551 January 14, 2022
You have another tactic.

This is for your boyfriend.

Assuming you have been together for a while and dined together frequently, he will have already given you silent hints on lighter dishes he prefers just by what he orders at a restaurant and what he devours on his plate.

Ultimately a cook needs to satisfy the desires of his/her dinner table guests. YOU are the best judge of this situation because YOU know him. The folks here at Food52 know nothing about his personal preferences.

In the same way, I'm not going to ask anyone here what to serve to my mom. I already know her preferences. She's 80. I've had plenty of decades to watch what she enjoys.

Use your familiarity with your target audience to your advantage.
702551 January 14, 2022
This all leads to another humorous possibility.


"What did BF enjoy as a kid?" Parents and siblings will certain know what his preferences were.

And ask ***WHY***. Maybe he liked apples? Perhaps there was an apple tree in the backyard.
Miss_Karen January 14, 2022
Spinach salad with lemon Vinaigrette.
702551 January 14, 2022
My automatic response would be to serve a simple green salad with a bright vinaigrette rather than a dressing weighed down with dairy, etc.

If you want a cooked veggie dish, I strongly suggest something in season steamed or cooked with minimal spices and flavorings. Meaning I'd prefer some steamed/boiled spinach over a cauliflower casserole smothered with Bechamel sauce.
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