Risotto Alla Milanese sounds elaborate, but it's really just a basic risotto that's flavored with saffron, which is what gives the dish its characteristic golden-yellow color.
It's important to use good quality saffron — it'll cost a little more, but usually you can buy just a tiny little packet for not very much money. You only need half a teaspoonful for this recipe.
For an illustrated demo of the risotto method, here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to make risotto.
Also see: Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1½ cups arborio rice
- ½ teaspoon saffron stems
- 1 qt chicken stock
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 medium shallot or ½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.
- In a small bowl, combine the saffron with a couple of tablespoons of the hot stock and let it steep while you do the following steps.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.
- Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. But don't let the rice turn brown.
- Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.
- Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.
Note: It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.
- Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you'll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.
- Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.
- Stir in the saffron with its liquid, along with the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the parmesan cheese, and the parsley, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Serve it right away as risotto turns glutinous if you hold it too long.
Got leftovers? This recipe for risotto cakes is a great way to use leftover risotto.
More Risotto Recipes: