Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zuppa Osso Bucco

 This morning was perfect.  Sunday is my favorite day!  Curt and I slept in and had a nice relaxing morning.  My typical Sunday routine is to get up, go to church, go to the grocery store, do some house cleaning, then cook food for Curt and I so we have lunches during the week.  Typically, I wander through the grocery store filling my cart with whatever appeals to me.  I've come to realize, through many trips to the grocery store, that I'm much more efficient when I have a grocery list.  So, on Sunday mornings, I plan out the food I'm going to cook for the week.  My mother in law gave me a Rachel Ray cookbook for Christmas last year.  Though I've looked through it many times, I've yet to actually make anything from it.  Today, a recipe stuck out to me and sounded delicious!

   Zuppa Osso Bucco


* 1 pound ground beef
* 1 large egg, beaten
* 1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
* 1/4 cup, a generous handful, grated Parmigiano or Romano
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
* Coarse salt and black pepper


* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pot
* 2 carrots, peeled
* 2 ribs celery and their greens
* 1 medium yellow skinned onion, peeled and halved
* Coarse salt and pepper
* 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 1 (14-ounce) can white beans, cannellini, drained
* 1 (15- ounce) can diced tomatoes in puree or coarsely ground tomatoes
* 3 cups chicken stock, available in re-sealable boxes on soup aisle
* 2 cups beef stock, available in 1 cup small boxes on soup aisle
* 1 cup egg pasta, broken egg fettuccini or medium egg noodles


* 2 cloves garlic, cracked away from skins
* 1 (2-ounce) tin flat fillet anchovies, drained
* Handful flat-leaf parsley, about 1/4 cup loosely packed
* 1 lemon, zested

The original recipe called for ground veal... I've never really had veal and don't particularly like the idea of it, so I swapped it for ground beef.  Also, I've never really had anchovies (aside from in Caesar dressing)... so I'm still somewhat afraid of it.  I halved the amount of anchovies to about 1 ounce.

First, I mixed the breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cheese, and ground beef.  Some people are worried about touching the raw meat, but not me!  I just mixed everything up with my hands... I think it's the best way to really mix everything up evenly.

Once everything was thoroughly combined, I set it all aside to just rest while I worked on the rest of the soup.

I chopped up all of the onions, carrots, and celery into pretty small pieces.  I like all of these veggies (except the celery... I'm still working on my love for it), but I wanted to make sure they were small enough to get nice and tender in the soup because I didn't really want a crunch in there.

Once everything was chopped up, I tossed it in a large stock pot with the olive oil and the bay leaf.  I kept the heat on medium because you don't want to brown the veggies, just soften them up a bit so they have a nice texture when you eat the soup.

Once the veggies were nice and soft, I added in the beans, wine, the chicken broth, and the beef broth.  At first, it didn't smell all that promising.  I could just smell the wine and the tomatoes, but after a while, it really started to smell great!  You have to let the whole thing come to a boil and then the flavors really have a chance to meld together. 

Once the soup has come to a boil, it's time to add in the little meatballs!  I just rolled little pieces of the ground beef mixture between my hands.  They were small little meatballs, but they were absolutely fantastic!  The mixture made a lot of little meatballs, but once those were in the soup cooking, they really added a lot of flavor too. 

After I had rolled all of the ground beef mixture and dropped it into the boiling soup, I added the pasta.  You are supposed to use egg noodles, but I didn't have egg noodles... instead, I used orzo.  I figured it's a nice sized pasta that cooks up quickly and has a nice shape.  I threw a cup of orzo in and let it cook in the boiling soup.

While I was waiting on the soup to finish up, I started on the gremolata.  Here comes the scary part! The ancovies!!!!!

Kinda weird looking huh?

I opened the tin, determined to really use them and not wimp out.  I did get a bit freaked out because the little bones were still in there and I could feel them as I was pulling the little fishies out of their tin bathtub and their little oil solution in there. 

Once I pulled them out, I realized just how much 2 ounces actually is when you aren't completely thrilled with it... so I only sort of wimped out.  I used half of the little fish bodies and threw the other half away.  I'll just work up to adding in the whole amount another time!

On my cute little bamboo chopping board, I mixed the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, and ancovies.  I just kept chopping and chopping until I couldn't tell that there was actually a decent amount of salty oily fish in there.  I kept mixing and chopping, mixing and chopping.  I didn't taste it, but it looked pretty enough. 

Now it was time for the moment of truth!  The soup was finished and so was the gremolata.  I ladled a nice portion of the yummy smelling soup into a bowl.... then, somewhat slowly, I added a spoonful of the fishy gremolata....

I mixed it all together and guess what? It was really really good!  I think that the anchovies added a nice little taste of the ocean to the soup.  It was surprisingly delicious!  I loved how the broth was really flavorful and there were enough meatballs in there that almost every bite had a little bit of the meatball.  This soup is one that I'll definintely have to make again.  Everyone really liked it too! 

I think that adding in only  half the amount of anchovies was perfect.  It gave the soup enough character, I feel like if I had added in all of the anchovies, it would have overpowered the soup a bit, but half the amount was great!

A+   :)

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