Cooking is, usually, simple. The simple is not always easy; on the other hand not all which takes time is complex. Today I made an osso bucco. I’ve never made it before. When I say it took ~30 hours to make, it sounds a lot harder than than it was.

Osso bucco is one of those foods which sounds much harder than it is. It’s got a reputation as this touchstone of Italian cuisine*. It’s a cut of meat. That’s it. Take a slice straight across the femur, and cook it. It’s actually pretty easy to cook, because with a simple simmer, it becomes flimsy plastic spoon tender.

The trick is making a plain cut of meat, which will render some quantity of marrow into the pan, not just soft, but tasty. Milanese cooking (the “classic” osso bucco) uses a white sofritto, tomatoes, more white wine, and a vegetable gremolata.

My wife can’t eat nightshades, or aliums, so the various Italian styles of cooking it are right out. Yesterday I made a dish of skirt steak and lamb cubes, with water and ras al hanout, two fresh bay leaves, salt, and a dash of black pepper.

I reserved the broth. Today I took the osso bucco, seared it in a fait tout, until it lifted of the pan; quenched the pan with the reserved broth, added a dash of herbes de provence, oregano, and two more (small) fresh bay leaves. Turned it down to as low a simmer as I could manage; let it rest for about five hours.

For side dishes I made pasta; dressed with olive oil and black pepper. Stewed butternut squash with a sweet curry, salt, and ½ cup each of water and some broth from the osso bucco.

It came out splendidly.

*think about the scene in Goodfellas, where the protagonistª gets nabbed… he’s going on about how much work it to make osso bucco

ªI can’t bring myself to call a mobster a “hero”