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photo: andy pucko on Flickr

The end result of this basic osso buco recipe is pure meaty awesomeness, but it does take awhile to get there. The veal shank starts out as tough as a Converse hi-top; you've gotta braise it nice and slow to get it to that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Plate it on top of a perfectly made risotto, serve it with a full-bodied Italian red to pay homage to osso buco's roots (it supposedly originated in Milan) and pat yourself on the back for a meal well made.