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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

~ Virginia Woolf

This past weekend was a holiday here, which meant T. was able to come home for 2 days. While 2 days may not sound very long, considering we’ve seen each other a total of 20 hours since the first of January having 2 whole days together was brilliant.  Plus 2 days meant I could shower T. with love or 3 dinners, 2 lunches, and 2 breakfasts. One of the dinners was a late night meal at my favorite restaurant on Saturday, followed by a stop at a local whisky bar for a nightcap (T. knows the way to my heart!). Of course one breakfast was eggs benedict, the other I attempted to balance the gluttony with scrambled eggs (seasoned with bacon sea salt) and fruit. Lunches were simple a panini and soup, although made with his favorites and quality ingredients from local shops not your standard supermarket ham and cheese. I also sent him back to work with Banana Chocolate Chip Bread as a treat. The theme of the weekend was definitely showing my love through food, taking cue from the quote above we dined very well and loved well all weekend.

I decided for one dinner I wanted to cook something special, and after seeing veal shanks at my local butchers I decided to take the plunge with osso buco. I reviewed a few recipes in my cookbooks and online, before settling on a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen Cookbook. The veal would be served with roasted butternut squash and creamy polenta. I could not locate the recipe online so I decided to share the love and type out the recipe below for you.

The dish wasn’t overly complicated, but is a considerable amount of work. Be sure to check the meat throughout the cooking process, when ready it should be soft and falling off the bone.

Please excuse the poor photo, but photo taking should never interfere with a romantic meal

Please excuse the poor photo, but photo taking should never interfere with a romantic meal 🙂

Ingredients

2 large pieces veal shin (bone-in), 4–5cm thick
4 tbsp  Flour
Sea salt and black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced/garlic press
200ml Dry white wine
3 thyme sprigs
3 rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water
250ml chicken stock/ broth
Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves

Roasted butternut squash:
1 large butternut squash
2–3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 thyme or rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped

Creamy polenta:
1/2 cup Instant polenta
2 cups water
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
salt

Directions

  1. Lay the veal pieces on a board. Season the flour with salt and pepper and use to lightly coat the veal. Heat the olive oil in a large, wide heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole and brown the veal pieces in batches, turning them to color all over.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and fry gently for 2–3 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook until the onions are soft and lightly golden, then pour in the wine and add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Let bubble until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds. Stir in the tomato mixture season with salt and pepper and cook for 2–3 minutes. Pour in the stock/broth, return the veal and cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for 1.5 hours – turning meat once.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and deseed the squash, then cut into small chunks. Place in a large bowl with the olive oil, garlic, thyme or rosemary and some salt and pepper. Toss well, then transfer to a baking tray. Roast for about 40 minutes or until tender.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the polenta. Pour the water into a large pan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta and keep stirring for about 5 minutes until it thickens and has absorbed all of the water. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, Parmesan, and salt to taste. Season with pepper and a little more salt to taste, if needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  5. Discard the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf from the osso buco. Pile the creamy polenta onto warm plates and top with the osso buco. Finish with a sprinkling of parsley and serve the roasted squash alongside.
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