Categories: Dairy-free, Kids (see note) This is one of the few Italian dishes where the main course is served together with a first course. Traditionally the first course would be risotto alla milanese (saffron risotto), but it is also served with risotto bianco (risotto with butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese), pureed potatoes, or buttered vegetables. See variations in the notes below. —woo wei-duan
slices of veal shin cut 4 to 5 cm thick
Flour for dusting
onion, rinsed, peeled, ends cut and finely chopped
carrot, rinsed, peeled, ends cut and finely chopped
rib of celery, rinsed, ends cut and finely chopped
meat broth or chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
lemon, rinsed and zested
flat leaf Italian parsley, rinsed, dried, leaves removed and leaves finely chopped
Rinse and dry the veal. Use a small knife to make 4 small incisions around the perimeter of each piece of veal so that you pierce the membrane but don't cut the meat. This will ensure the meat doesn't curl as it cooks.
Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper.
Dredge the veal in flour.
Heat a heavy bottomed casserole which is large enough to accommodate all the veal so that they sit flat in one layer without too much space around them but so they are not too crowded over medium heat. Add the butter to melt.
When the butter is melted, add the veal to the pan.
Once the veal is browned, about 3 to 5 minutes, turn over to brown on both sides, another 3-5 minutes.
Remove the veal from the pan and set aside. Add the white wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. When the wine has evaporated, add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and turn the heat down to low.
Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Then add the veal back to the pan.
Mix together the tomato sauce with 100 mls of the broth and add to the veal.
Cover firmly with a lid and keep on the lowest flame possible. Cook for 2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart. Turn the meat every half hour and add more broth as necessary to keep it moist.
Mix together the garlic, lemon zest, and parsley and sprinkle onto the veal during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Spoon over some sauce to incorporate the gremolata.
Taste to adjust the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let the veal rest for 15 minutes before serving. Place one piece of veal on each of 4 plates and spoon over the sauce to serve.
Kids: When I make this dish, I take one of the veal shanks and put it in the food processor to make it into a sauce. I then toss the sauce with pasta and feed it to the kids.
Variation 1: If you want to add more flavour, you can add a sprig of rosemary and 3 sage leaves with the onion.
Variation 2: The onion can be substituted with a clove of garlic.
Variation 3: An anchovy can be added to the gremolata added at the end.