Meat and Poultry

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

Loreto December 18, 2018

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Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta. When life hands you some tough blows, some stray to that tub of ice cream. I crave something more wholesome and hearty to soothe my blues. Tough times call for hearty measures and this Ossobuco has nothing but passion and all of my heart in it!

Song of the day: “It’s a Man’s World” by Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown.

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta, talk about a stick-to-your-ribs, nothing but flavor, oh so comforting dish. Tender beef shank floured, seared, then left to simmer in a rich tomato sauce backed up by that soulful carrot, celery, and onion trio. I may have the “life is too tough” blues, but this dish has definitely talked to my soul in a loving way!

It is always good to vent.

I have to tell you, I have been quite exhausted lately. Work, taking care of my family affairs after my dad’s passing, and working at this food blog venture, plus trying to balance some happiness in our life has my time pretty filled up. Nicoletta also really works hard too, giving this blog her all. We are both at a crossroads. Our dream to make blogging our full-time gig is always at the forefront of our minds, however, there seem to be some challenges that we need to work through.

The infamous blogger question.

How do I get this blog to be really successful? What does that exactly mean? Well, for me, it means lots and lots of followers, because that means that we are liked and people are interested in what we do, hence monetary possibilities!

I have to say, Nicoletta and I take great pride in developing the recipes we do. We work like crazy, photographing, cooking, staging, shopping, using the best ingredients on a budget. I don’t really know what else we can do. I cannot be something I am not, and will not compromise who I am.  Nicoletta is the same. We love who we are and part of that is being truly foodies in every sense of the word, with lots of heart!

Where is this going?

You may be asking what does this have to do with Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta. I think I can answer that.

For me, cooking is a way I express my love of life and how I like to share that with the world. My recipes are rich in flavors and colors, similar to how I live my life, or try to live my life, fully that is. When I am challenged, my heels go into the ground and I am determined to create more beauty because it makes me feel good, productive, and most of all, useful in a soulful kind of way, which I love sharing with people.

This dish is all of that. Beautiful, and rich, comforting and substantial, truly most noteworthy. Just what is needed when energies are low, emotions are high, and happiness needs to be restored.

It’s not the destination, but the journey there that is important!

Come with me on my soulful journey to creating this Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta. Cooking for me is not only about ingredients and preparation, but it is also an experience of emotion, love, creativity, and spirituality. Let’s begin!

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

When I hear ossobuco my heart immediately opens, why? Well, I know this dish demands patience and lots of tender loving kindness to prepare.

The stages of preparing Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta.

It all starts with grocery shopping. I only shop where I feel connected too. I get my meat from a local butcher. The veggies from the farmers market or organic store, and Italian ingredients from our local Italian Store.

I shop at these places because they make me feel like good and also that I am part of something special. It is felt when I walk in, and in leaving  I am left feeling wonderful. I think the ingredients I bring home are charged with that warm and fuzzy energy add in good vibes, therefore making the recipe even better.

There is more to cooking than the act. It also involves the energy behind it.

Life may be a bit tough right now, but I am striking back the only way I know how: with the utmost kindness and love and this Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta!

What’s in the shopping bag?

  • 2 nice marbelized organic grass-fed beef shanks
  • onions
  • celery
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • all-purpose flour
  • garlic
  • basil

We are ready to rock this recipe out. Better turn up that music, it’s time to cook!

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

Firstly you have to chop all your veggies. A nice small dice will do you just fine, however, if you like more chunky vegetables, that is fine too.

Secondly, flour up those beef shanks. This will really seal all those juices and get a nice crust on the beef, consequently releasing all that flavor in the sauce it is going to stew in.

Thirdly, searing the floured beef shank in a well olive oiled cast iron pan on high heat.

Fourthly, sauteing the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots and sealing the deal with some wonderful tomatoes. I used ones Nicoletta and I canned from the garden. However, you can use store-bought. The only thing is, use a good quality. Flavor is the key here!

Into a baking dish go the seared beef shanks, and on top that lovely rich, aromatic sauce. Here is where a bit of patience and relaxation on your part is needed.

Slow and low is key!

This goes into a pre-heated oven for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours on low to medium heat. All that flavor from the seared beef shank is going to release in that rich sauce, making it so so delicious and scrumptious.

Lastly, the best part, let’s eat!

OH WAIT! We need something to serve with this wonderfully tender and tasty Beef Shank Ossobuco. I think polenta is going to be just an amazing bed of smooth comfort for this dish!

Patience is a virtue!

Yes, we have to bring out that patience card here. Polenta is kind of like risotto. Demands some arm work and time to get it to that smooth deliciousness that we want.

All that is needed is a pot of somewhat boiling salted water, cornmeal, and a whisk. In Italy, my in-laws usually cook polenta in a copper pot. They stir it until it becomes smooth and soft then place the lid on and let it steam like that for a time.

Now without a doubt time to eat!

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

I have to say the aroma of the polenta with that beef shank all smothered in that rich textured sauce is amazing. I love the deepness of the sauce, steeped in that beefy boldness. I am just going to plate myself a bit for a taste.

Love me Tender, Love me Sweet……….

You gotta just love when you go to cut some of that beef and it just falls apart. You can see how that sauce has entered into the inner folds of this meat making it so juicy and moist.

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

The Play by Play!

I am getting some polenta on my fork, along with the sauce, along with that oh-so-fall-apart tender beef. OMG, I love how the sweet corn flavor of the polenta slowly paves way for that rich tomato chunky sauce which has decided to latch on to the moistest, melt in your mouth, oh so delicious beef.

Tomato sauce and beef are a match made in heaven. I love how the carrots, onions, and celery sweeten the pot and love those hits of basil. I am just scarfing up this plate of food. Each bite offering some love and comfort. I can see the sun again, lovely.

Does anyone have some bread? I don’t want to waste any of this sauce on the plate. It’s scarpetta time!

Life may be a bit hard right now and I may be singing the blues, however, this Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta has soothed many of my woes. This dish has deeply touched my soul and also caressed my ego a bit which is okay no? Someone once told me that ego is a good thing, just needs to be trained in the right manner. I guess that is where humbleness comes in.

Move over ice cream, there’s another counselor in town! One that is out of this world, incredibly tender, mouth-watering, melt in your mouth, as a result, outrageously good!

This blog is Nicoletta’s and my dream. We won’t give up, love it too much. It’s our baby, so keep checking us out. We guarantee there will be more delicious and decadent recipes to come!

P.S. You don’t need to be crying the blues to try this dish. It works just fine in happy times too! lol.

Merry Christmas!


Song of the day: “It’s a Man’s World” by Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown.

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves four 1x
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta, talk about a stick to your rib, nothing but flavor, oh so comforting dish. Tender beef shank floured, seared, then left to simmer in a rich tomato sauce backed up by that soulful carrot, celery, onion trio. I may have the “life is too tough” blues, but this dish has definitely talked to my soul in a good way!


Beef Shanks:

  • 2 x 500g organic beef shanks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil


  • 1 1/2 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 3 medium carrots washed peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery washed and diced
  • 1 large onion peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 cups of stewed tomatoes
  • A handful of fresh basil washed and hand torn
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper


  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley


Beef shank:

  1. Pour flour into a shallow dish, mix in salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Take beef shank and place in flour, flipping it over to coat all sides with flour. Do the same for the other beef shank.
  3. Heat up olive oil in a cast iron pan.
  4. Place beef shanks into pan and sear for about 2 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
  5. Turn beef shanks over and sear again for 2 minutes.
  6. Put seared shanks into a  large baking dish and set aside.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In the cast pan that you seared the beef shank in, drizzle more olive oil and toss in the garlic, chopped carrots, onions, and celery.
  3. Saute until onions become translucent and celery and carrots soften. Cooks for about 10-15 minutes on low to medium heat.
  4. Pour in stewed tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and fresh torn basil. Simmer for about 30 minutes on low heat. Remember to turn frequently to prevent it from sticking and burning.
  5. Once sauce thickens a bit, pour over beef shanks, cover dish with foil paper and place in oven. Cook for about 30 minutes then turn heat to around 325° F and cook for another hour.


  1. While beef shanks are cooking in the oven, bring water to a low boil in a medium pot.
  2. Season water with coarse sea salt. Taste to make sure it is seasoned well.
  3. Slowly sprinkle in cornmeal whisking the mixture well until all the cornmeal is in.
  4. Keep whisking and cook on low to medium heat until cornmeal thickens and is similar to porridge.
  5. Take off heat and cover for about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour in buttermilk and whisk until smooth.


  1. Take a scoop full of polenta and place it on a serving dish.
  2. Lay the beef shanks on top of the polenta and scoop the sauce and lay on the beef shanks.


  1. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on top and on the edges of the plate.
  2. Ready to serve.



  1. You can use veal shanks. That is what is typically used for ossobuco.
  2. If you don’t want polenta on the base, some use orzo pasta or even rice or potato.
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Beef Shank Ossobuco with Polenta

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  • Avatar
    Reply Saima December 23, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    This looks like such a hearty dish! And I always wanted to try polenta, but never got around to doing it. Your recipe gives me the perfect excuse to do so!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 27, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Thank you Saima, It is such a heart warming dish perfect for those lonesome cold nights. Oh I think you are going to love the polenta. Traditionally we serve it on a board in the center of the table with tomato sauce and meats and sausages on top. Every one has a spoon to dive into it!

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