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Risotto alla Milanese (Risotto with Parmesan and saffron)

Risotto alla Milanese owes its beautiful colour to saffron.

Chef Danilo Angè

Difficulty: easy

Method: 70'

Cooking: 25'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 70'

Cooking: 25'

Chef Danilo Angè

Difficulty: easy

Method: 70'

Cooking: 25'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 70'

Cooking: 25'

Basic preparations

Meat stock

Method

  1. 01 / Prepare the saffron

    Put the pistils in a bowl

    Cover with the warm stock

    Leave to soak for 1 hour

  2. 02 / Prepare the sauté for the risotto

    Finely chop the onion

    Add it to the butter in a saucepan over medium heat

    Cook for about 5 minutes until it wilts, it should not brown

  3. 03 / Toast the rice

    Add the rice to the fried mixture

    Turn the rice for a couple of minutes until toasted without changing colour – it should be very hot when touched with the back of the hand

  4. 04 / Cook the risotto

    Add the white wine and let it evaporate

    Add the boiling broth, the rice must always be covered with liquid

    Add the saffron pistils soaked in the stock halfway through cooking

    Cook, stirring occasionally, adding a little stock at a time when necessary

    Remove from the heat after about 18 minutes

  5. 05 / Blend the risotto

    Add the Parmesan cheese and cold butter

    Hold the handle of the saucepan and move it vigorously back and forth to mix the ingredients

    Adjust the salt

  6. 06 / Serving

    Arrange the risotto on serving plates

Wine pairing

You can pair Risotto alla Milanese with an aromatic, full-bodied white wine like a Chardonnay or Sauvignon. An excellent pairing is also with the elegant bubbles of a Franciacorta Rosé or a fruity and not too structured red wine like a Barbera – both still and sparkling.

Basic preparations

Meat stock

Risotto should be prepared and served there and then, but you can prepare the stock in advance.

Another very useful tip is to replace the fried onion or shallot with a flavoured oil you can prepare in advance and use for other recipes too. Chop the onion/shallot, put it in a saucepan and cover it completely with extra virgin olive oil. Cook it on a low flame or in the microwave until the onion/shallot is transparent. Leave to infuse and cool, filter, cover, and store the flavoured oil in the fridge.

The onion must not brown in the frying pan.

The rice must not change colour during the toasting process to seal the rice grain and allow it to release the right amount of starch when needed.

From mid-cooking onwards, the stock should only be added as necessary, as it is absorbed, so as not to end up with a risotto with too much broth.

The “mantecatura”, the final mixing operation, must be done with the heat off, with cold butter and Parmesan cheese for the creaminess of the risotto.

The risotto should be served strictly hot and freshly made, without allowing it to darken and dry.

If you want to use the leftover risotto for other preparations, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container up to a couple of days.

If you want to recycle it, the easiest and quickest way to reuse Risotto alla Milanese, without adding other ingredients, is to cook it al salto (stir fry). In Milan, you can often find it cut into cubes, even in venues serving aperitifs.

If you want to respect tradition, serve the Risotto alla Milanese with a veal ossobuco in gremolada, this is a unique dish perfect especially for the autumn and winter season.

The most suitable rice qualities to obtain a creamy risotto are Carnaroli, Roma, Arborio and Vialone Nano.

Risotto alla Milanese owes its beautiful colour to saffron; you can replace saffron pistils with powdered saffron, which is less valuable but still very much appreciated. Always add saffron halfway through cooking, even without diluting it with stock first.

In the traditional recipe, the rice was sautéed with the butter, about 25 grams, and onion. Nowadays butter is replaced increasingly with extra virgin olive oil.

Tradition also included adding 50 g of ox marrow to the initial sauté to the onion. If you can find it at your local butcher’s, you will obtain a risotto with a more intense flavour.

You can replace the vegetable stock with meat stock if you wish but it should be without salt and used hot.

In Italy, it is said that a successful risotto must be “all’onda“: this means that it must be thick and creamy enough to allow creating a wave in the saucepan with a sharp blow by your wrist during the final mixing phase.

Ingredients for 4 people

320 g carnaroli rice

60 g of onions

25 g of butter for the sauté

40 g of butter for the creaming

60 ml white wine

0.125 g of saffron pistils

1 l of meat stock

80 g grated Parmesan cheese

Salt

Wine pairing

You can pair Risotto alla Milanese with an aromatic, full-bodied white wine like a Chardonnay or Sauvignon. An excellent pairing is also with the elegant bubbles of a Franciacorta Rosé or a fruity and not too structured red wine like a Barbera – both still and sparkling.

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