Guido’s Stinco Arrosto, or Roast Veal Shank: An Illustrated Recipe

Roast Veal Shank: The Ingredients

Roast Veal Shank: The Ingredients

A number of years ago I was invited to a Vinsanto tasting at Badia a Coltibuono, one of the historic estates of Chianti Classico. We enjoyed some memorable vintages, and the tasting was followed by a meal cooked up by Guido Stucchi Prinetti, who had taken over the cooking classes his Mom — Lorenza De’Medici — used to hold for foreign visitors. The main course was stinco arrosto, roast veal shank. It was quite good, and when I asked he replied he’d be happy to show me how he did it. It is, he says, one of his Mom’s recipes, and classic cucina borghese, upper middle class Italian cooking.

It’s also quite easy to do, requiring little supervision, and Guido therefore used it often in his cooking classes, having the students get it going and then teaching them something else, for example how to make pasta.

Guido started holding the lessons by chance; after Lorenza decided to retire in 2000, Francesco Torre, the chef at their restaurant, taught for a while, but then he married and American, and is now in Napa.

“That left me,” Guido recalled, adding that he has always liked to cook, and in addition to drawing from his mother’s experience, was working to recover old techniques and traditions.

Roast Veal Shank: Trimming Excess Fat

Roast Veal Shank: Trimming Excess Fat

As Guido says, this is an extremely easy recipe, and is also virtually foolproof: You simply prepare the meat, put it in the oven, and go about your business; in 3 to 4 hours it will be done.

To serve 4-6 you’ll need:

  • A whole veal shank (you may have to order it from your butcher) weighing about 4 1/2 pounds (2.2 k) — beef shank will also work, though the cooking time increases by a couple of hours
  • 4 small carrots, peeled
  • An organically grown lemon
  • 2 ribs celery
  • A large onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flour

Begin by trimming excess gristle and fat from the shank using a sharp knife as shown above.

Roast Veal Shank: Seasoning the Meat

Roast Veal Shank: Seasoning the Meat

When you have finished preparing the meat, salt it liberally, dust it with abundant freshly ground pepper, and flour it well, tapping it to shake off whatever doesn’t stick. The flour will, in addition to forming a crust, help to thicken the pan juices, and if it’s added at this stage it won’t form lumps.

Sprinkle the oil and crumble butter into an oven-proof pot large enough to hold the meat. Chop the vegetables into the pot, and then add sufficient wine to reach a finger up the sides of the pot. You don’t want to braise the meat, but you do want there to be sufficient liquid to keep it moist until the heat of the oven begins to render out the fat.

Roast Veal Shank: Into the Pot!

Roast Veal Shank: Into the Pot!

Cover the pot, put it in the oven, and turn the oven to about 320 F (160 C). Guido prefers not to preheat because the secret of the dish is long gentle roasting at a low temperature, and also observes that in the past starting with a cooler oven was a common practice.

“People talk about browning the meat with an initial blast of heat,” he says, “but with time it will brown in any case.”

Roast Veal Shank: And Into the Oven

Roast Veal Shank: And Into the Oven

At this point you’re free to go about your business; check on it occasionally, and add a little wine or broth if it looks dry, but it will probably be just fine.

Roast Veal Shank: Several Hours Later

Roast Veal Shank: Several Hours Later

3 1/2 Hours Later: The meat’s done, and is extremely tender, while the vegetables will have become almost creamy in consistency.

Note: If you use beef shank, extend the cooking time by a couple of hours.

Roast Veal Shank: Blending the Sauce

Roast Veal Shank: Blending the Sauce

Remove the shank to a chopping board, and spoon the vegetables into a food mill to blend them (you can use a blender, though the sauce won’t be quite as smooth). Add the pan drippings and crank them through the food mill too.

Roast Veal Shank: Adding Lemon Zest

Roast Veal Shank: Adding Lemon Zest

Put the sauce in a small pot. Trim the zest from the lemon, chop it, and add it to the pot, together with half the juice of the lemon. Heat the sauce through.

Roast Veal Shank: Boning It...

Roast Veal Shank: Boning It…

Remove the bone (your dog will enjoy it greatly) and slice the meat with the grain into a number of pieces, taking advantage of the opportunity to remove any excess gristle or fat that may have been present within the shank. Arrange the pieces of meat on a platter, and spoon some of the sauce over them.

Roast Veal Shank: Enjoy!

Roast Veal Shank: Enjoy!

This roast is very good with mashed potatoes, so while the meat was cooking Guido diced several, boiled them, and them mashed them with milk and a little salt. More gravy on the side, and who could ask for more?

The wine? We had a 2004 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico, and it was quite nice.

Buon Appetito!

This recipe in a shorter page.


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Categories: Beef & Veal Roasts, Illustrated Recipes And More

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.


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