Choosing the best wine for cooking Osso Bucco starts with understanding the dish itself. Simply memorizing food-wine pairings isn’t that helpful. It’s better to understand why the pairings work. Don’t worry; you will get specific wine suggestions in this guide.
My Experience Cooking Osso Bucco
A few years ago, I read “The Four Hour Chef” by Tim Ferris, which had an Osso Bucco recipe. While the title sounds like a cooking book, it is about learning skills. I attempted to make the osso buco recipe and didn’t like the results. Nonetheless, osso buco is an exceptional dish that many people love.
I don’t remember using wine in making the dish. Perhaps that was the missing ingredient! With that experience in mind, let’s explore options for the best wine for cooking Osso Bucco.
What Is Osso Bucco?
It is an Italian classic dish commonly served in restaurants. Initially, the dish came from the Lombardy region. The typical ingredients in this simple recipe include the following:
- Veal shank slices (or veal slices)
- Olive oil (i.e., extra-virgin olive oil)
- Flour (you only need a bit of flour)
- Chopped onions
- Garlic cloves from a head of garlic (the garlic flavor is essential)
- Beef broth (or you might substitute chicken stock)
- Dry white wine
- Tomatoes (some people prefer to use tomato paste to make tomato-based sauce)
- Bay leaf
- Lemons (or grated lemon zest)
- Parsley (ideally fresh parsley)
- Fresh thyme (or thyme sprigs)
- Ground pepper (ideally freshly ground pepper)
The perfect Osso Buco recipe has a two-hour cooking time, so plan ahead if you want to use it as an entertaining dish. If you have help preparing the cloves of garlic and other ingredients, you can cut a few minutes of cooking time.
Some chefs use wine in preparing Osso Bucco, while others skip the wine. As with everything in food and wine, there is no correct answer. It is a question of personal taste and health.
Best wine for cooking Osso Bucco
White wines like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are the best wines to use in cooking Osso Bucco. The type of wine you choose should be based on what you like. Here are some specific wine suggestions to save you time browsing in the wine shop.
If none of the bottles of wine mentioned are available at your wine store, ask the staff for a suggestion.
Italian Pinot Grigio
Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo ($33)
This 14% alcohol content wine has earned 90 plus point scores from wine critics. The wine offers a varied flavor profile with plum, apricot, and spices.
Kellerei Nals Margreid ‘Punggl’ Pinot Grigio Sudtirol – Alto Adige ($24)
Produced in the South Tyrol region, this Pinot Grigio has earned gold and silver medals at wine events. The wine’s flavor profile includes citrus, earthy, pear, and apple.
Sauvignon Blanc Suggestions
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc ($24)
This affordable Sauvignon Blanc has a lot to offer. The flavor profile includes well-balanced notes of passionfruit. The 13.5% alcohol wine from New Zealand also has oak notes.
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Le Paradis Blanc ($35)
Produced in France’s Loire Valley, this wine offers a combination of citrus notes and earthy notes. The dry wine also has a gentle floral quality, making it even more appealing.
Questions About the Best Wine For Cooking Osso Bucco
Knowing which wine to use in the kitchen is just the start of learning effective ways to use wine in cooking. I’m going to focus on the wine aspect of this Italian dish. Please consult a cooking resource for guidance on how much black pepper, unsalted butter or kitchen twine to use.
1) Should you choose a cheap wine?
Some wine drinkers intentionally choose inexpensive wine for cooking. I’m afraid I have to disagree with this perspective for a few reasons. First, low-end wine tends to have less complexity. Therefore, it will not add much to the dining experience.
The second reason to avoid low-end wine in cooking Osso Bucco is that you will probably end up drinking the wine. If you are cooking the dish at home, you may use only a small portion of the wine in cooking. The taste of wine tends to be disappointing when you look at the low end of the price range.
What happens to the rest of the wine? You’re likely to serve it at dinner. Don’t inflict cheap, dull wine on yourself and others at dinner. You don’t have to get expensive wines over $100, though.
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend looking for wines priced between $20 to $100. Even better, look for a wine that has won awards or high scores from wine experts. Browse the suggestions above for some specific ideas for affordable quality wines.
2) How much wine should you use for cooking Osso Bucco?
Most recipes suggest using 1 cup of wine. That means you will have substantial wine left in the bottle. For this reason, choosing a quality wine, you will enjoy drinking is best.
3) Do you need wine to make the dish?
No, it is not strictly necessary. While it is common to use wine in cooking, you can make this dish without wine.
4) Do you have to use veal to make Osso Bucco?
The classic version of Osso Bucco uses veal shanks. That said, lamb shanks and beef shanks are often used as well.
5) What are good wine pairings for Osso Bucco?
While white wine is traditionally used for cooking the meal, eating it is a different story. Only a small amount of cooking wine is used, so you may not taste it as much. In contrast, red wines like Barolo, Malbec (like French Malbec), or Châteauneuf du Pape work well to enjoy alongside the wine.