Risotto Milanese, doesn’t it sound beautiful?
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved risotto. And that little girl was me! I always loved the creamy, delicate texture of this Italian rice. I especially loved the simple and delicate Risotto Milanese. I would always order it at restaurants. It wasn’t something we made at home often and I never attempted to cook it on my own.
When I decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy my sophomore spring semester of college I was so excited to take two cooking classes! I had my fingers crossed that we would learn how to make risotto milanese in my Modern Italian Cooking Course. I learned how to make so many amazing things in that class, from gnocchi to ricotta cheesecake, but the most valuable lesson (much to my happiness and surprise!!!) was learning how to make a truly beautiful risotto. Thank you, Marco Cinotti, I owe all of my risotto skills to you!
This Risotto Milanese is a classic risotto dish from northern Italy (where risotto is most often eaten). A beef broth is used and saffron adds a beautiful yellow hue. It is delicate, but also holds up extremely well with robust dishes like, Osso Bucco and other braised meats.
I love eating it all by itself, too. There is something so simple and comforting to it. Risotto Milanese, like any risotto takes a bit of finesse and does not typically have precise measurements. You’ve got to really feel it and get to know those rice grains in the pot.
I was inspired to make this risotto the other night after watching the risotto fail on Top Chef restaurant wars. Doesn’t everyone know you shouldn’t make risotto on Restaurant WARS!!! (It’s never turned out well) It’s because risotto can be really finicky!! It is very easy to over and undercook the rice. It also needs to be served immediately after it is finished. If it sits for long, it will become thick and gummy. It should be beautifully smooth and almost soup like. Yeah, and don’t ever make it with water. BROTH is better.
It takes twenty minutes from start to finish, but it’s all hands on deck! You need to be ready to stir the pot constantly for those twenty minutes. Get those arm muscles ready! I promise, it will be worth it!
- 1 1/2 pints beef broth (vegetable broth can be substituted) approximately
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 6 shallots, finely chopped (onions may also be substituted)
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 1 1/4 cups arborio rice (short grain rice)
- 1/4 cup white wine, room temperature
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Warm the broth on the stove top, keep it at a low simmer.
- Heat two tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil in a heavy based, large sauce pan, with high sides.
- Add the chopped shallots and garlic to the melted butter and olive oil. Saute until soft, about 1 minute. Add the saffron, stir until the yellow color is released.
- Add the rice, stir to coat , continue stirring with a wooden spoon for about one minute
- Add the wine to the rice and stir until it is absorbed.
- Add a ladleful of hot broth and continuously stir until the liquid is absorbed. Stir vigorously and incorporate as much air as possible. Continue until the rice is al dente (has a little bit of a bite to it), about 20 minutes. Save a ladleful of broth.
- Turn off the heat, add the parmesan, remaining butter, reserved broth and stir. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for two minutes. Spoon into bowls immediately. It should scoop like a thick soup and will pour into the bowl nicely.
- Top with more parmesan and salt and pepper to taste!