Savory Risotto Milanese

If there’s one thing the Milanese (those from Milan, Italy) love the most, it’s risotto. Learn how to make this classic Northern region dish using delicious ingredients.

Risotto is a rice-based dish that can be prepared in numerous ways. It’s rich, thick and creamy–which is the perfect cold weather dish. Risotto Milanese is native to Milan, Italy where food and fashion go hand in hand. My father has been preparing this meal my whole life, and I fall in love with it’s savory softness each time.

Ingredients (for a party of 4):

1/4 cup of butter (salted is best, I recommend Kerrygold)

1 whole white onion

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

1 box of chicken stock (or 1 quart)

8 oz glass of Pinot Grigio (or another dry white wine)

1/4 or 1/2 cup of porcini mushrooms (Portion depends on your love of mushrooms)

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese (Parmiggiano Reggiano preferred)

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese crust (This is where the Parmiggiano Reggiano comes in handy!)

1 packet of Zafferano aka Italian Saffron (Available on Amazon or your local Italian store)

Chop your white onion very finely. If you have a food processor, this will be easier!

Grab a medium-sized pot and melt your butter in olive oil. In a separate pot, add the chicken stock on a medium heat so that it’s not boiling, but staying warm.

Add the onions to the butter and oil on medium heat. Make sure the onions become very soft and a golden color before proceeding. This process may take a few extra minutes but it’s worth it for the flavor that is drawn out of the onion.

In a small bowl, take some of your heated chicken stock and add the entire packet of Zafferano. Stir the powder rapidly until it dissolves and set aside (we will be adding this ingredient toward the end).

In another small bowl, add your porcini mushrooms and fill the rest of the bowl with chicken stock. Set aside and let the porcini mushrooms absorb some of the chicken stock. It doesn’t have to completely absorb, but it will soften the mushrooms so that they are smooth to the taste.

Once your onions are soft and golden, add 1 cup of chicken stock along with the rice to the mixture. The goal here is to have the rice absorb all of the chicken stock before adding more. This is a gradual process of stirring and pouring in order for the flavor to really seep into the rice.

Before pouring all of the chicken stock, add the wine to the rice and stir slowly. Once the wine is absorbed, continue adding the chicken stock. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer. Once your mixture no longer has a soup texture, add more chicken stock.

Next, take your parmesan crust and chop it into small pieces. The point of adding parmesan crust in addition to parmesan is the density of the crust. As you’ll observe while cutting, the crust is very thick and hard. Once it’s added to the mixture, it becomes more soft yet retains a chewy texture that adds depth to the risotto. It’s the secret formula for a successful Risotto Milanese and the dish wouldn’t be the same without it.

The crust of Parmiggiano Reggiano has a flavor like no other!

Once you have added your parmesan crust, add the 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese and continue stirring.

After all of the chicken stock has been added to the dish, now is the time to add the porcini mushrooms. You’ll want to add these once the dish is almost finished. Finally, add your Zafferano mixture. Note: this will add an orange tint to your meal!

Once everything is mixed together and blended nicely (meaning that your rice is thick and has a sticky texture), your risotto is done!

Let me know how your Risotto Milanese tastes in the comments!

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