Family Friendly Food Ideas

Handmade Spaghetti with Italian Tomato Osso Buco – Vegetarian option included

My father, an Australian-born son of Italian parents (who emigrated to Australia from Egypt), was an Italian chef for some time before I was born. Along with my mum (an Australian born descendent of Irish emigrants from the gold-rush days), they have created some sensational dinners for our family of 7. I have eaten the most delicious, healthy, mouth-watering, stomach-filling food in the kitchen of my parent’s home, and many meals were inspired by Italian cooking techniques and ingredients – including the Osso bucco recipe here.

Yet today is my first attempt at hand making pasta. As apart of our journey to be empowered over what food goes into our body – eating fresh food free of additives (bleach, preservatives) and harmful cooking processes – we have bought a little pasta roller/cutter.

Up until now I haven’t experienced the alternative to buying packaged pasta from the supermarket – the instant variety – I’ve literally taken special trips to the supermarket to buy ‘instant’ lasagne sheets. I feel quite silly now, knowing how quick and easy it is to make my own pasta with just 700g wholemeal plain flour (sifted), 5 eggs and a spare 20 minutes. Oh – and an IPhone with Jamie Oliver’s simple directions, here. (Please check it out and have a go.) As Jamie said, the dough requires working and a bit of muscle power … And for me, that was all apart of the fun! I had a boxing session with the dough. Laughing is healthy too, right?

Making spaghetti brought us together as a family – we worked together, and when it was cooked and ready to mix with the sauce it was a real treat emotionally. Plus – the best spaghetti we have ever tasted.

But to the real reason we are all here – the Osso Buco.

Here is our adapted and very easy recipe. This is a real treat!

You will need:
– 4 veal shanks (Italian name is Osso Buco) NB: For a delicious meat-free option that I use now, substitute veal shanks with button mushrooms and a block of silken tofu
– 1 brown or red onion
– 4 large carrots
– 2 tbsp tomato paste
– 500g pre-cooked tomatoes (tinned ok)
– plenty of fresh sea-salt
– dried Italian herbs including basil
– rind of half a lemon, diced very finely

1. Put a hot enamel pot (or camp-oven) on high heat with 1 tbsp oil (pick one suitable for frying at high temperature)

2. Place the veal shanks in the bottom of the pan. Brown the base side – after 4 minutes, flip to brown the other side. Skip this step if you are doing the meat-free option.

3. Roughly chop the onion and add it to the hot pot.

3. Dice the carrots and add to the pot, and give everything a rough stir. (You may need to do this every minute or so to stop the veal shanks stop sticking to the pot.) Let the onion and carrots brown slightly. For the meat-free option, pull the tops off the mushrooms, throw the stems in the pot, and roughly tear the mushroom tops and add to the pot.

4. Add the tomato paste, pre-cooked/tinned tomatoes, and 3 cups water. Stir-in the dried herbs, lemon rind (diced very finely), and a good finger pinch of sea salt crystals. Stir through, and reduce the heat.

5. Allow to simmer slowly for up to 2 hours – occasionally you may test the flavour and add more salt. Eventually try the meat to see if it’s ready: when the meat is tender to the point of falling apart.

6. For the meat-free option, 5 minutes before serving, add the silken tofu block and stir-through so it is roughly broken up.


7. Stir the fresh basil through the sauce. Serve and enjoy!

– Copyright, Joanna Becker. Contact for permission to reproduce.

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