3 hours, 20 minutes
For the best presentation, tie a piece of string around each veal shank to hold the meat to the bone throughout the cooking time. Cipollini, sometimes called wild onions, are small onion-like bulbs, available in the produce sections of well-stocked markets.
2 ounces pancetta, cut into thin strips
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 whole cipollini, trimmed and peeled
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
4 (12-ounce to 1-pound) veal shanks for osso buco
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups veal stock
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1. Saute the pancetta in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat in a braising pan (or a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan) until the pancetta is crispy and the fat is rendered, about 15 minutes. Remove the crisp pancetta from the pan and set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the same pan and add the cipollini. Cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
3. Add the diced onion, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
4. Pat the veal shanks dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with the fennel seeds, fleur de sel and cracked pepper and rub the spices in. Roll the meat in the flour to coat.
5. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon butter in the same pot. Add the veal and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
6. When the veal is well browned, return the reserved pancetta, cooked vegetables and cipollini to the pot. Pour in the wine. Blend the tomato paste with a little of the stock and pour in along with the remaining stock. Add the thyme sprig and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
7. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and put it on the middle rack of a 325-degree oven. Cook until the veal is fork tender, about 2 hours.
8. To serve, carefully transfer the meat from the pot to a serving platter and keep warm. Skim off any excess fat from the top of the sauce. Place the pot back on a burner and, over medium heat, bring the sauce and vegetables to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the meat and arrange the vegetables alongside. Pour any additional sauce into a gravy boat. Serve with lemon risotto.