Instant Pot Osso Buco is a great paleo and low-carb choice for dinner. This traditional Italian dish is hearty, delicious and nourishing. Because Instant Pot pressure cooking shortens cooking time, this recipe is a breeze to make on the busy weeknights!
There are so many things to love about Osso Buco! Besides the amazingly rich flavours, the dish agrees with me and it’s deeply nourishing.
The Life-Giving Bone Marrow
Osso Buco is made from beef shanks, and the best part of beef shanks is the bone marrow. Scooping out the bone marrow gently with a spoon and then slurping the jiggly bone marrow is a heavenly experience. Bone marrow is fatty and rejuvenating, just what my body craves and needs.
Not surprisingly, our ancestors from native and traditional cultures around the world have regarded bone marrow as a healing and regenerative food. Although scientists have not found the vitamin and mineral content in bone marrow to be significant, the healing power of bone marrow is more profound.
Bone marrow is where stem cell is formed, and the organ for generation of platelets, leukocytes (WBC), and erythrocytes (RBC) that perform important functions of coagulation, immunity, and oxygen transport. Bone marrow also contains high levels of a class of lipids called alkylglycerols (AKGs). AKGs are found to be powerful immune system boosters, helping us fight infectious diseases, radiation toxicity and cancer.
The high fat content of bone marrow is essential for brain growth and development. Bone marrow is easy to digest. Dr. Weston A. Price found that in Native American culture an important part of the nutrition of the children consisted various preparations of bone marrow. Similarly, in Eastern traditional cultures bone marrow is often reserved for children as dietary supplement to obtain important nutrients as well.
Osso Buco is Low-Carb and Paleo
Lately, I have been gravitating towards low-carb foods, due to a flair-up of my digestive issues. I am having some bloating after eating, ever since I took a course of herbs to treat my flu. The digestive discomfort is completely expected even with herbal medicine, when we use herbs that are strong anti-microbials.
To re-align my digestive system and restore gut flora, I have been eating smaller amounts at mealtime, less carbohydrates, and more warm and soft foods that are easier to digest, paired with my homemade kefir and sauerkrauts for probiotics.
This Instant Pot Osso Buco is paleo and low-carb. Osso Buco is typically paired with traditional Milanese saffron risotto. For a low-carb meal, I paired it with this saffron cauliflower rice risotto.
Tips for Cooking Instant Pot Osso Buco
If wholesome meals are faster to cook, we would all be eating healthier. To shorten cooking time, I wanted to re-create this classic Osso Buco recipe in my Instant Pot. Here are some tips and considerations I hope you find helpful.
- Any size of Instant Pot will do, but I highly recommend a larger one if you have the space for it. I own an 8qt Instant Pot (this is the model I use), and I can fit 3 beef shanks on a single layer. It really comes in handy when cooking large portions for a family of 4-plus.
- When Osso Buco is made in the Instant Pot, you will not lose as much moisture as if you were to make it on the stovetop the traditional way. I accounted for this by using less liquid ingredients. But in order to bring Instant Pot to pressure, you still need a minimum of 1 to 2 cups of liquid in the pot. In order to get a sauce consistency for this dish, you will have to reduce the liquid after the beef shanks are cooked. Details in the instruction section below.
- Beef shanks tend to fall apart easily once cooked. You can tie each beef shank with kitchen strings. Otherwise, be very careful when transferring beef shanks out of the Instant Pot.
More Instant Pot recipes you will love:
- Instant Pot Beef Brisket Stew with Daikon Radish
- Shredded Chipotle Beef Tacos
- Instant Pot Sticky Rice Steamed Pork Ribs
- Cheesy Veggie-Stuffed Meatloaf
- Instant Pot Sticky Rice Steamed Pork Ribs
- Instant Pot Beets Salad (Paleo, Whole 30, Vegan)
- Instant Pot Forbidden Rice & Red Bean Congee
- Sprouted Chickpea and Sweet Potato Hummus in Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Shiitake Ginger Chicken Bone Broth (All Purpose Asian Stock)
Instant Pot Osso Buco (Low Carb, Paleo)
- 6 pcs beef shanks, approx. 3.5 - 4 lb.
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp healthy cooking fat, such as avocado oil, butter or ghee
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 796ml can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 organic lemon, zested
- (Optional) Tie the beef shanks with kitchen strings to hold them together during cooking.
- Season beef shanks generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Meanwhile, peel the garlic, onion and carrots. Finely mince the garlic. Dice the onion, carrots and celery.
- Turn on the Instant Pot, select the "saute" setting. Heat 2 tbsp healthy cooking fat of your choice. Brown the beef shanks, about 6 minutes on each side. Cook all the beef shanks in 2 to 3 batches. Remove the beef shanks from the Instant Pot when done and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tbsp healthy cooking fat of your choice. Add the onion and garlic, stir for 2 minutes, and then add the carrots and celery. Cook all the vegetables for 6 minutes, stir constantly.
- Add white wine, diced tomatoes, thyme and bay leaves into the Instant Pot. Stir the content in the pot until well mixed.
- Add the beef shanks back in. Make sure they are submerged in the sauce.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Turn the steam valve to close. Select "meat/stew" setting and program for 40 minutes at "high pressure".
- When done, let the Instant Pot naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then manually turn the steam valve to open to let out any remaining pressure. Open the lid.
- Gently transfer only the beef shanks without the sauce to a serving dish.
- (Optional) Remove the kitchen strings if you used them to tie the beef shanks in step 1.
- Turn the Instant Pot on to "saute" setting. Cook the sauce while stiring continuously, until the sauce is reduced to the desired consistency. It takes approximately 10 minutes. But use your own judgement for how thick you want the sauce to be. Check the seasoning of the sauce and add more salt as needed. Turn off the Instant Pot when the sauce is to your liking.
- Pour the the sauce over beef shanks on the serving dish.
- Combine finely chopped parsley, minced garlic and lemon zest to make the gremolata.
- For a low-carb meal, serve the osso buco with saffron cauliflower rice risotto.
- Top with a sprinkle of gremolata as desired.