Osso buco is Italian comfort food at its best, but it is also elegant enough to serve at any gathering. A rich and creamy saffron risotto is the classic accompaniment. Traditionally it's served with a long, thin spoon sticking straight out of the bone, so you can enjoy the savory marrow inside.
For the osso buco: Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper and heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Spread some flour on a plate, then dredge the veal in the flour on all sides and add to the oil. Brown well on both sides, 2 minutes a side. Remove to a plate.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion wilts, about 4 minutes. Stir in the rosemary and thyme. Add the white wine, increase the heat and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth and bay leaves. Reduce the heat so that the liquid is simmering gently, and nestle in the veal. Add water, if necessary, to come three-quarters of the way up the sides of the meat. Cover and cook until the veal is tender and a paring knife inserted in the meat slides out easily (insert the knife in several pieces to make sure all are done), 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove the veal to a plate.
Strain the sauce into a fat separator, pressing on the solids. Wipe out the Dutch oven. Pour the defatted sauce back into the Dutch oven and reduce over high heat until thickened and the sauce just coats the back of a spoon. Cut the strings on the osso buco and return the meat to the sauce. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm while you make the risotto.
For the risotto Milanese: Combine the broth and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add the saffron, then turn the heat very low to just keep warm. Heat a medium Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper; cook until softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, to coat the grains in the oil, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine, bring to a simmer and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add enough of the hot broth to just cover the rice. Simmer, stirring occasionally until almost totally absorbed. Continue to add broth and stir until the rice is creamy and al dente, about 18 minutes from the first addition. (The risotto will be a bit soupy at this point.)
Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and Parmesan until melted and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
For the gremolata: Combine the parsley, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl.
Spoon the risotto into 4 shallow wide bowls. Top each serving with a piece of osso buco and spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the gremolata.
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