Cooking anything Italian for The Italian is never easy. I still remember the first time I cooked spaghetti alla pomodoro con melanzane – spaghetti with tomato sauce cooked with aubergine. But that is a story for another day! So when I told him that I’d be cooking Osso Buco, he raised his eyebrows and gave me his ‘vediamo’ – ‘ok-let’s-see’ – look. Then when I told him that Osso Buco is a French dish, he rolled his eyes and said in Italian, ‘Ciao! Il nome Osso Buco e nome Italiano’ which roughly translates into, ‘Yeah! And baguette is an Italian bread!’
And to make my life more difficult, the Osso Buco is to be served with Risotto Milanese, a saffron risotto that the MIL excels in and that The Italian remembers with relish his childhood summer days eating this dish.
Well, after labouring in the kitchen for over 3 hours, Osso Buco Delicious was served. The Italian savoured every morsel, even mopping his plate with the last bit of baguette. ‘Making little shoes’ is what the Italians call the action of mopping one’s dish with a bit of bread. Fare la scarpetta is a compliment to any Italian cook and to every Italian mamma.
What’s more, the girls loved it too. RN who is 4 and half yummed her way through dinner, the risotto being her favourite. Luckily for me, she didn’t mention nonna’s risotto giallo. SS, who is 13 and a budding foodie, ate every bit of her bone marrow and rice. I didn’t tell her that osso buco is really the bone marrow but when she asked what the hole in the bone was, The Italian simply said, ‘buco!’ That, kawan, literally is what buco means.
The recipe I used was sent to me by a friend and another cooking partner from London. Here’s the recipe: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/300b4e4a-49f1-11e0-acf0-00144feab49a.html#axzz1H55boRTV
I followed every step religious, this being the first time I am cooking osso buco. I compared other recipes and one called for the meat to be dredged in flour which I did seasoned generously with salt and pepper. This helped seal in the flavours of the meat and thicken the sauce. I browned the meat in an iron cast casserole dish that allowed me to pack the osso buco together so I didn’t need to tie the meat to the bone. The casserole was then put into the oven for 2 hours. This dish is really easy to prepare and truly sedap, so have no fear if this is your first experience with osso buco.
For the risotto Milanese, I cooked it to recipe requirements and stood stirring my risotto over a glass of white wine until each grain of rice was cooked. This took roughly 20 minutes.
I have never made dessert with mascarpone before. When my kawan, neighbour, cooking and shopping partner said that we ought to try it, I didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’. However, the recipe we chose together called for strawberries which I had forgotten to purchase. In a bind, I googled ‘what to do with mascarpone’ and this beautifully easy recipe came up. Here is how it looks:
It is easy peasy to make, something you can throw together in 30 minutes between clearing the table and setting it for dessert. I grated lemon zest over the caramelized bananas to enhance the mixture of honey and mascarpone. The jing gang ate it up with relish and satisfaction. I am definitely making it again. Next time, I will dress it with mint and more lemon zest. Here’s the recipe:
You will need:
4 firm bananas, peeled and cut into thirds
4 tbsp honey (I used acacia)
generous grating of lemon zest
In a non stick pan, heat the honey over a low heat. Add the banana and cook for around 1 minute. Add the mascarpone, stir until combined with honey and banana. This should take about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Grate some lemon zest over the bananas before serving. This dessert is best served warm.