Risotto alla Milanese (Milanese Risotto)
Risotto alla Milanese means ‘rice made in the style of the city of Milan’. Risotto is a northern Italian rice dish whose popularity is not confined to Italy only.
Risotto alla Milanese is bright yellow in colour from the saffron, a spice that in Italian cuisine is often very popular. This creamy risotto is one of the most traditional dishes of the city of Milan and a representative dish too. Like other authentic Italian-style risottos, this one is cooked the slow and painful way, but oh so worth it. Risotto rice does not have a flavour of its own, so the stock plays an important role. The stock must be flavourful, and the acid balance is also important hence I always use a dash of white wine.
The best risotto I had was in Milan, in a restaurant in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. While we were in Milan, we had at least one of our daily meals at this restaurant and always enjoyed a different variety of Risotto. Their Milanese and Fungi risotto were the best! That is when I fell in love with Risotto!
Risotto cooking is not for everyone as it needs bundles of love, patience, and energy. Risotto has a reputation for being one of the harder-to-master Italian dishes. Overcook the rice, you quickly ruin it. Over stir, and you lose the creamy, rich texture risotto is renowned for. It is hard enough to cook rice, let alone perfect a one-pot wonder like risotto where just the right amount of creaminess is key to getting the rice to melt in your mouth like butter instead of melding into an oatmeal mush. I have had my share of failures but now I have a fool proof recipe for creamy luscious risotto. I would highly recommend reading the ‘Tips and Variations’ section if you are a risotto novice.
Risotto alla Milanese is creamy and just simply delicious with hints of saffron and parmesan. This dish is completely and utterly mouth-wateringly delicious!
1 cup risotto rice (250gm)
4-5 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 finely chopped onion
¼ teaspoon saffron strands
½ cup white wine
Salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons shaved/grated parmesan
Warm the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions for 4-5 minutes until soft over low heat. You do not want them to crisp up or become overly dark in colour, just soft and translucent.
Soak the saffron strands in a bowl of warm stock.
In a separate pan warm up the vegetable stock over medium heat. Keep the stock warm during the whole risotto making process.
Add the rice and stir to roast and let it combine with the flavours of the onion for a few minutes.
When the rice has taken on a pale, golden colour, pour in the wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
Add ½ cup vegetable stock to the rice and stir until the stock is absorbed.
Next add the saffron infused stock. Continue adding ½ cup stock at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is al dente. The heat should be moderate, so that it bubbles in a lively but not aggressive way. It should take around 18 – 20 minutes for rice to cook through.
When cooked, remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and the cheese.
Serve hot with some parmesan.