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11th Dinner Club Meeting: Lombardy – Menu and Recipes

14-Feb-2005

October 2004

I’m hosting this meeting and I decided that it might be fun to be a bit more granular in the theme.  I had a couple of reasons for wanting to be more specific.  First, in many countries (including the US) recipes and styles of cooking vary from area to area.  Second, by specifying a region instead of an entire country there was more leeway for future themes! :-)

I chose the Lombardy region of Italy.  Lombardy is in the northern area of the country and encompasses Milan, Lake Como and is influenced by the other countries it borders, Switzerland and Austria.  Rice is more common than pasta, Gorgonzola cheese plays a big role and many of the dishes are very simple and straightforward, which is something that attracted me about this area.  I wanted to have a meal that took less effort than some others we had planned – something that would really allow us to focus on visiting and not so much on preparation.  We would also serve the courses in the traditional way – antipasti, primo, secondo, insalata y dolce. 

Here’s the menu:

Osso Buco

2 Tbsp plain flour
6 pieces of osso buco
2 small onions
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large celery stick, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
½ pint dry white wine
½ pint chicken stock
1 strip of thinly pared lemon rind
2 bay leaves, plus extra for garnishing (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gremolata
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf paisley
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Season the flour with salt and pepper and spread it out in a shallow bowl. Add the pieces of veal and turn them in the flour until evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour.

Slice one of the onions and separate it into rings. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, then add the veal, with the onion rings, and brown the veal on both sides over a medium heat. Remove the veal shanks with tongs and set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Chop the remaining onion and add it to the pan with the celery, carrot and garlic. Stir the bottom of the pan to incorporate the pan juices and sediment. Cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables soften slightly.

Add the chopped tomatoes, wine, stock, lemon rind and hay leaves then season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring. Return the veal to the pan and coat with the sauce. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the veal feels tender when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped parsley, lemon rind and chopped garlic. Remove the casserole from the oven and lift out and discard the strip of lemon rind and the bay leaves. Taste the sauce for seasoning. Serve the osso bucco hot, sprinkled with the gremolata and garnished with extra bay leaves, if you like.

11th Dinner Club Meeting: Lombardy – Summary

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