Creamy and delicious, risotto alla Milanese is a dish that cannot be missing in the arsenal of an Italian homechef. Learn here how to make the traditional one.

 

Servings

 

4

Ready In:

 

35 min

Calories:

 

328

Good For:

 

dinner

About this Recipe

 By: Silvana Lanzetta

Did you know that the origins of Risotto alla Milanese date back to the 1500s? We owe the introduction of rice to Europe to the Arabs, who brought it to southern Italy in the 13th century. From there, rice made its way to the Po Valley thanks to the contacts between the Aragonese and the Sforza, or maybe even because of Jewish merchants traveling across Europe. The marshy soils of the Po Valley were particularly suitable for rice cultivation, which made it a staple of Lombard cuisine.

 

risotto alla milanese

Ingredients

  •  350 gr of Carnaroli rice (if it cannot be found, use Arborio)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100 gr of butter 
  • 50 gr of beef bone marrow (optional, but highly recommended)
  • up to 1 liter of homemade beef stock
  • 50-80 gr of grated parmesan
  • 2 saffron confection of 0,4 gr

It all started with a wedding

Now, here’s a fun story about the origin of Risotto alla Milanese that is found in the Trivulziana library. During the wedding of the daughter of Mastro Valerio di Fiandra, a Flemish painter who worked on the windows of the Milan Cathedral, his assistant Zafferano added a little saffron to the risotto. Zafferano used to mix saffron with his colors to make them more lively, so he thought it could add some flavor to the dish too. Surprisingly, the guests loved the addition of saffron to the risotto, and the dish became the same color as gold, a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Since then, Risotto alla Milanese has been a famous and creamy first course of Lombard cuisine.

Or maybe it was just a peasant recipe

Some historians believe that the true ancestor of Milanese risotto is “rice with zafran,” a kosher recipe popular among Jews and Arabs. It is a simple dish that consists of boiling rice with fresh stems of saffron. Even the word “saffron” itself has Arab origins, deriving from the Arabic “zaʿfarān” and the Persian “zaâfara,” which both refer to the crocus plant from which saffron is obtained.

marrow
saffron

Nutrition

 

Risotto alla Milanese is delicious, but given the high fat content, it needs to be enjoyed with moderation.

  • Proteins 8% 8%
  • Carbs 43% 43%
  • Fats 49% 49%
risotto alla milanese 1

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

To start, heat up the bone marrow, 60 gr (4 tbsps) of butter, and finely chopped onion in a saucepan over low heat until the onion takes on a beautiful light golden hue. Then add the rice! Be sure to stir it well so it toasts and won’t break up during the cooking.

Step 2

Next, raise the heat and start pouring in some boiling broth, one ladleful at a time, while stirring the rice regularly with a wooden spoon. This step is crucial to achieving the perfect texture for your risotto, so take your time and enjoy the process. Depending on the type of rice you’re using, this step should take around fifteen minutes.

Step 3

As the ice starts to absorbs the broth, keep adding more a little at a time. Be careful, though! You don’t want to overcook the rice and end up with a mushy mess. Keep an eye on it and make sure the rice stays “al dente,” meaning it has a slight firmness to it.

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Step 4

Now, it’s time to add the saffron! You can either dissolve some saffron pistils in two-thirds of the broth halfway through the cooking process, or simply add some saffron powder at the end. This will give your risotto a beautiful golden color and a delicate, fragrant aroma.

Step 5

Finally, add the remaining butter and grated Parmesan cheese to the risotto, stirring everything together, then let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Adjust the salt to your taste and voila! Your risotto is ready to be devoured.

Tips!

If you don’t want to make the beef stock from scratch, use commercial vegetable stock instead. Avoid using the commercial beef stock, which it’s to strong and will overpower the delicate balance of flavour of your risotto.

The key to a perfect risotto is to keep it fairly liquid, “all’onda,” so that the grains are well separated but held together by the creamy binder.

If you have leftovers, make the traditional “risotto al salto.” Give the risotto a round shape and the thickness of an omelet. Heat a good amount of clarified butter in a pan. Brown on both sides until the rice binds and solidifies, forming a crispy and golden crust; serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

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risotto alla milanese

Risotto alla Milanese


  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Diet: Kosher

Description

Indulge in the rich and creamy flavors of Risotto alla Milanese, a classic Italian dish that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 350 grams of Carnaroli rice (if it cannot be found, use Arborio)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100 grams of butter
  • 50 grams of beef bone marrow (optional, but highly recommended)
  • up to 1 liter of homemade beef stock
  • 5080 grams of grated parmesan
  • 2 saffron confections of 0,4 grams

Instructions

  1. Heat up bone marrow, 60 gr  (4 tbsp) of butter, and finely chopped onion in a saucepan over low heat until the onion takes on a  light golden color. Add the rice and stir well so that it can absorb the seasoning. This step is crucial for building the base flavors of the risotto.

  2. Add the broth gradually: raise the heat and begin to pour the boiling broth over the rice, one ladleful at a time, while stirring regularly with a wooden spoon. The gradual addition of broth allows the rice to absorb the liquid and create a creamy texture without becoming mushy.

  3. Add saffron: Halfway through the cooking process, add saffron pistils dissolved in two-thirds of the broth or saffron powder (at the end of the cooking process) to the risotto. This step will give your risotto a beautiful golden color and a delicate, fragrant aroma.

  4. Finish with butter and Parmesan cheese: When the rice is cooked, add the remaining butter and grated Parmesan cheese and stir for a few minutes, adjusting the salt to your taste. This step creates the signature creaminess and depth of flavor in the dish.

  5. Serve hot and enjoy: The key to a perfect risotto is to keep it fairly liquid, “all’onda,” so that the grains are well separated but held together by the creamy binder. 

Notes

If you don’t want to make the beef stock from scratch, use commercial vegetable stock instead. Avoid using the commercial beef stock, which it’s to strong and will overpower the delicate balance of flavour of your risotto.

If you have leftovers, make the traditional “risotto al salto.” Give the risotto a round shape and the thickness of an omelet. Heat a good amount of clarified butter in a pan. Brown on both sides until the rice binds and solidifies, forming a crispy and golden crust; serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: minutes
  • Category: Risotto
  • Cuisine: Italian
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