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Pork Osso Buco with Gremolata


One of the most satisfying dishes to eat is Osso Buco.  It is traditionally made with veal shanks but this version with pork is equally delicious and as a bonus, pork is inexpensive. The shanks contain a large bone in the middle of the meat, adding lots of flavor to this dish. Even if you are a new cook, this dish is super easy to prepare and I guarantee lots of happy diners. 

Osso buco is a dish that needs to cook for about 2½ hours, so plan accordingly. The prep is very easy - the meat is seared, removed from the pot and then a soffritto, a mixture of vegetables, is cooked.  Then all the other ingredients are added and the meat is returned to the pot, covered and cooked in the oven, low and slow. What results is an incredibly delicious sauce with meat that is just falling off the bone. Traditionally, it is served with Risotto Milanese, a beautiful golden risotto dish flavored with saffron.  You can also serve it with pasta or polenta.


The shanks should be pretty thick - I like ones that about two inches thick.  When you buy them, they will very likely come with the skin on over the layer of fat. Many people leave this skin on and you can certainly do that. However, I don't like it and I cut it off before I cook the shanks. It's easy to do with a very sharp knife. If you cut the skin off, you will now need to tie the shanks with twine to keep the meat from falling off the bone.  This step is not necessary, but just nice when serving the shanks because it keeps them from falling apart and makes them nice to serve a whole shank on a plate.

Most recipes call for dredging the pork in flour, but I do not do that.  I feel that the flour tends to burn a little in the searing process and I would rather just have a nice rich fond form on the bottom of the pot from the meat. 


There is a version which leaves out the tomato altogether.  It's delicious and pairs very well with the risotto and the gremolata. It's essentially the same recipe, just omitting the tomato. A good reason to cook the dish twice!

The finished dish is sprinkled with gremolata, a zingy mixture of raw parsley, garlic and lemon zest that is delicious.  Serve extra on the side so your diners can add more as they eat their osso buco.


Pork Osso Buco with Gremolata

for a printable recipe, click here

you will need kitchen twine for this recipe

serves 4

5 pork shanks, about 4 pounds (about 3 - 3½ pounds after skin is removed)
salt and pepper
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 cup dry white wine
1 or 2 cups chicken stock
1 28-ounce can whole or pureed San Marzano tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 lemon, zested



¼ cup packed finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 lemon, zested
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated


I like to trim the skin off the shank and then wrap twine around it,
securing the meat to the bone.


I like to remove the skin from the pork shanks. This is entirely personal preference and you can keep it on if you want.  The pork has plenty of fat, but I also trim any real big pieces of fat from the outside of the shanks.  I make sure not to trim all the fat off, though.  Take the kitchen twine and tie it around each shank, securing the meat to the bone.

Preheat oven to 325°F. 

Season the pork shanks on both sides with the salt and pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat (I like to use my Le Creuset Bouillabaisse Pot). Place the shanks in the pot and sear each side for about 3 -4 minutes, creating a nice crust. Work in two batches because the shanks most likely are not going to fit in the pot all at once for the searing process.  Remove the shanks from the pot to a plate.  Do not wipe out pot. Lower the heat to medium. 

Add the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot.  Add the chopped vegetables to the pot, including the garlic. Saute for about 6 - 7 minutes, until the vegetables soften.  Raise the heat a little and add the white wine and cook for about another 3 minutes.  Add one cup of the chicken stock and the tomatoes - if you are using whole tomatoes, just crush them with your hands as you put them in the pot.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste and lemon zest.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring, to blend the tomato paste.  Return the shanks to the pot and nearly submerge them in the sauce. Add another cup of stock if you need to. Cover with a tight fitting lid, place in the oven and cook for about 2½ hours.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata by mixing the finely chopped parsley with the lemon zest and minced garlic.

Check the shanks - they should be tender.  Remove them to a serving platter and cut off the string.  Spoon some sauce over the shanks and serve the rest on the side. Sprinkle the pork with some gremolata. Serve the pork with Saffron Risotto, polenta or pasta.



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Reader Comments (11)

Osso-Buco is one of our all time favorites. Veal shanks are expensive and difficult to find normally. Making this dish with pork or beef shanks is a great alternative. Maybe it is where we live/shop but the pork/beef shanks can also be a chore to find at times. This is a great recipe and I would not change one thing. If you see shanks at your market grab them up and give this recipe a try. It will go into your rotation I guarantee it.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBaltisraul

What’s the difference in using chicken stock or veal stock??

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDenise oconnell

So I never thought to use pork in this dish - I really don't want to buy veal. I'm definitely going to try this! Sounds great.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

@ Denise O'Connell ...the difference I see is finding veal stock. If making with pork I would use chicken stock. If making with beef shanks I would use beef stock.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBaltisraul

Oh, boy!! My mouth is watering just looking at the delicious dish. And would you believe we found some gorgeous veal shanks at Costco? They are to die for! We got them in Florida -- we can't get them here in the North. We are saving them for some special occasion. And the gremolata is a must. I bet the family gobbled the dish up!! YUM!

Am a die hard italophile. Anna del Conte etc.
your blog, method, precision, instructions are impressive!!!

Gracie tantissimo.

April 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFame da lupo

Oh, I can't wait to try this recipe!!! The flavors were jumping off the page as I read it!

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

Marisa! I, too, found veal shanks at Costco! We served Osso Buco for Thanksgiving one year. It was delicious and all 13 of us loved it. It is only the two of us now as our two daughters are married with kids. Everyone comes over on Thanksgiving each year and we always have something different for the meal. One year we smoked meatloaf on our Weber. Served with mashed potatoes, roasted veggies and a large salad/plus homemade bread rolls. Thanks for the reminder and I may pick some up soon to make again. Cheers!

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGrammaSue

look so yummy!

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjordi

Hello Italian Dish,
I have not been receiving your posts for a long time now. This is the first in who knows when.

September 20, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjoy

This was very, very good! Much better than another osso buco recipe I tried. Since I did not have whole or pureed San Marzano tomatoes, I did not want to risk subbing the bland diced tomatoes in my pantry so I used an entire small can of paste and more wine than called for plus the full two cups of stock. It was a good choice as it was a real hit! Absolutely delicious. I used pork, by the way. Thank you!

April 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVenetia

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