“One of the most famous dishes from Milan, the key ingredient in this risotto (aside from the rice) is saffron,” says Scott Pickett. “Traditionally bone marrow is stirred back into the risotto to make it glossy. It’s a perfect foil for the slow-cooked veal, and a hearty winter night’s feast. The classic way to serve this is to scatter it with the gremolata, which adds a wonderful freshness to the dish: the garlic, parsley and lemon work brilliantly with the tomato, meat and saffron.”

This recipe comes from Scott Pickett’s new book Marriage of Flavours (Lantern, pbk, $39.99), out now.

Serves 4


Osso buco
1kg ripe tomatoes
4 × 350–450g slices veal osso buco
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 brown onions, diced
2 anchovies, chopped
250ml dry white wine
2 litres veal or chicken stock
1 large sprig thyme
1 large sprig rosemary
1 large sprig sage
1 bay leaf
Good pinch of saffron

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 garlic clove, finely grated

50ml olive oil
5 golden shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g canaroli or arborio rice
Pinch of saffron
50g parmesan, grated
25g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon (optional)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


For the osso buco, score a cross in the base of each tomato and place into a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and stand for 2 minutes, then drain. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Cut in half crossways and scoop out the seeds, then roughly chop the flesh.

Season the meat well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over high heat. Sear the meat on both sides until well browned, then set aside. Reduce heat to low and heat the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until caramelised, then add the onion and anchovies and cook until tender.

Add the tomato to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have softened and broken down. Pour in the white wine and cook until reduced by two-thirds. Add the stock, herbs and saffron and bring to the boil.

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Return the meat to the pan and submerge in the liquid. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 2–2 ½ hours, until the meat is just coming away from the bone. Allow the meat to rest in the cooking liquid until lukewarm, then transfer to a plate, cover and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve, pressing on the vegetables to extract as much as possible. Place 1 litre of the stock in a saucepan for the risotto. Put the rest back into the casserole and return the meat. Reheat in a low oven while you make the risotto.

For the gremolata, mix the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

To make the risotto, heat the reserved stock over medium–low heat and keep warm. Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until tender. Add the rice and toast until lightly browned, then stir in the saffron. Add the hot stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly and making sure it is fully incorporated before adding more. It will take about 25 minutes to cook the rice, adding stock and stirring, until it is creamy but the grains still have a slight bite. Stir the parmesan and butter into the risotto, with the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice if you like. Season to taste.

Serve the osso buco with the risotto, scattered with gremolata.