The North of Italy is completely different from what most people would expect when they hear Italy. I have been there twice, once on a skiing trip when I was 17 to Selva val Gardena which is in the Trentino South Tyrol region.
And the second time was last summer on a surprise city trip to Milano with my best friend. Food wise the dishes are heavier then in the rest of the country and have more of German/Swiss/Austrian influence, which is not that strange since the Northern part of Italy shares a border with Switzerland and Austria.
Things you didn’t know about the North of Italy:
- There is no legal drinking age in Italy, in the sense that a young person of any age can legally consume alcohol, but a person must be 16 years old in order to be served alcohol in a restaurant or a bar.
- The world record truffle weighing 3.3 pounds was discovered in Tuscany by a dog named Rocco and it was sold at an auction to Macau casino mogul and billionaire Stanley Ho for $330,000.
- The United States banned Prosciutto from being imported until 1989, and Mortadella and Speck until 2000. Other meats like Cotechino and Zampone are still banned at present. Some say it is to protect the American livestock from disease but most speculate that it is to protect US meat producers from competition.
- The Italian Wedding Soup or Minestra Maritata is not traditionally served at Italian weddings. “Maritata” means “married” but in the context of the dish, it pertains to the soup’s ingredients — meats and green vegetables — going well together, therefore “married” in a sense
- The origins of Italian surnames are either patronymic, occupational, descriptive or geographical. Surnames ending in “o” usually come from Southern Italy, while surnames ending with “i” are often from Northern Italy.
The pesto on top of this dish really really brings it to another level! I have had osso bucco many times! but this one is really really traditional and my favorite version. I ate the whole lot with pasta.
- 6 vealshanks
- nutmeg to taste
- flour (to lightly coat the vealshanks)
- olive oil
- 2 onions
- 2 small carrots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 celery stalks
- little bit of dried thyme
- 200 ml white wine (pinot bianco)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 liter chickenstock
- Coat the vealshanks with a little flour, salt and peper.
- Brown them in a little olive oil and butter, the more attention you pay to the color now the better it get’s! Trust me 😛 but not on a high heat take it easy this dish takes time. But it’s really worth it!
- Meanwhile you can cut all your veggies; celery, onion, garlic, carrots.
- Take the meat out of the pot, and put it on a plate.
- Put the veggies in the same pan you browned the meat in. Let the braise for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour in the wine, the tomato paste, the spices. Bring to a boil and add the chickenstock.
- Put the meat back in the pot, and let it simmer for about an hour.
- Meanwhile make the pesto.
- Serve with pasta or a nice basic risotto. Finish with a little lemonzest
- pine nuts
- olive oil
Blend it all together!