Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Risotto alla Milanese

The first time I had this wonderful saffron and parmesan risotto was earlier this year when we took my mum on a surprise birthday treat to Milan. Milan is a beautiful city, however, in order to visit this stylish city, you must pack only your best clothes. We spent far too long getting ready and dressed up each day- even if we were just going shopping or sight seeing. Everyone, everywhere, is immaculate. It really puts London to shame!

We saw an opera at the world famous Tetro alla Scala, went to countless art galleries including seeing Da Vinci's Last Supper, saw the incredible Duomo and, of course, we window shopped at all the fancy designer shops. One of the best parts of Milan, however, is the food (no surprises there!) with Gelato cafes on each corner, we ate Italian ice cream for breakfast lunch and dinner, as well as the amazing fresh pasta and breads, then gorged on aperitifs and cocktails in swanky bars in the evenings.

One of the aperitifs we had was Risotto Milanese. It's so simple- with only two main flavours- yet so tasty! It's normally a wonderful bright yellow colour, however my saffron wasn't the most expensive, hence the paler colouring. I recommend using a high quality extra strong parmesan and good quality saffron- powdered if possible in this recipe to get the true Italian flavours.

In my opinion, risotto is the perfect meal because you only use about a third of a bottle of wine- so you get to finish the rest with the meal.

1 medium onion
2tbs oil
370g risotto rice
200ml dry white wine
500ml chicken stock, then up to another 500ml as needed
1tsp saffron- if using threads, soak them in a little stock before use
100g good quality strong parmesan cheese (150g if not strong, plus extra for sprinkling)
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add the onion and cook over a medium- low heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes
  2. Add the rice and cook for 3-4 minutes
  3. Add the wine, 250ml of stock and the saffron then turn up the heat until just boiling
  4. Reduce the heat a little simmer for 5-10 minutes so that the alcohol can evaporate and there isn't much liquid left stirring frequently (i'm a slight control freak and stir constantly, but this isn't really necessary)
  5. Add another 250ml of stock and keep stirring. Repeat this until the rice is cooked through. You want it to be a little al dente, as they have it in Italy, but not grainy
  6. When the risotto is done, add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Here, you can also add another 250ml of stock, if you prefer your risotto more soupy
  7. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan, salad garnish and fresh bread
Enjoy! :) x

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