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Risotto Milanese (saffron risotto)

By Nikki K on 27th Jul, 2014

Risotto Milanese (saffron risotto)


Serves 8 people as a starter/side, or 4 people as a main.

  1. Chop the onion as finely as you can. Heat 60g of butter and the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gently fry the onion for at least 10 to 15 minutes until very soft but not brown.
  2. Cut the remaining 50g of butter into small piece and leave out of the fridge. Finely grate the parmesan.
  3. Heat the chicken stock. Pour 100ml into a heatproof dish and soak the saffron strands in it.
  4. Add the risotto rice to the saucepan and stir to coat the grains in the butter and onion. Cook for a minute or two until it goes pearlescent.
  5. Add about 300ml of chicken stock to the saucepan and gently cook until it is absorbed by the rice, stirring regularly.
  6. Then add the 100ml of stock containing the saffron strands, ensuring none of the previous strands get left behind. Stir.
  7. When the stock has been absorbed by the rice, add further stock in batches of 200ml, stirring each time until it is absorbed. Keep the heat gentle and do this slowly for a better end result.
  8. After about 25 minutes of adding stock and cooking, the rice should be cooked but still slightly ‘al dente’.
  9. Add the remaining butter and the white wine to the pan, along with the sea salt and white pepper. Stir and then taste to see if more seasoning is needed.
  10. Finally add the grated parmesan and gently stir it through. Serve straight away in warm bowls either as a starter, a main or as the traditional accompaniment for Osso buco with gremolata.

Recipe Notes

  • You could make Risotto Milanese up to the end of Step 8 in advance, but leaving it a little more ‘al dente’ than normal. Then gently reheat the cooked risotto before adding the final butter, white wine, seasoning and parmesan to serve.
  • Risotto Milanese is not typically a vegetarian dish – traditionally it even contains some bone marrow from the Osso buco – but you could substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock and a vegetarian parmesan-style hard cheese for the Parmesan if you wanted to.
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