The traditional recipe for Risotto alla Milanese has a long and varied evolution, with legends dating its creation to even the 1500s. Official versions of the recipe start appearing in culinary manuals in the late 1700s, and undergo variations until 2007 when it became officially recognized as a geographically typical dish of Milan. Variations on the dish traditionally included the use of bone marrow and or wine. Today, recipes vary based on personal preference. Butter is commonly used, though for a lighter version, a combination of butter and olive oil could be substituted for those with such dietary restrictions.
Risotto alla Milanese, if cooked with genuine ingredients, particularly with home-made simple vegetable broth as in the following rather than commercial versions, should be naturally gluten-free.
Cuisine: Italian, Lombard, Milanese
Course: First Course
Yield: 4 servings
320 g Carnaroli rice
1/2 large onion, chopped finely
3 1/2 Tbsp. butter, plus 1 Tbsp.
2 g. ground saffron, plus additional saffron stems for garnishing
1 medium potful of simmering Simple Vegetable Broth
30 g grated Grana Padano cheese (or Parmigiano cheese)
saffron stems for garnishing
1. Melt butter in a medium-sized pan over a medium flame.
2. Stir in chopped onion and sauté for about a minute.
3. Add in rice and stir well. Toast the rice for two to three minutes, stirring frequently to avoid browning the onion. The rice will become slightly translucent.
4. Stir in two ladles of hot broth at a time, stirring occasionally between each addition and waiting until the rice has absorbed most of the broth to add in the next quantity of broth. Continue this procedure until the rice is almost done cooking, about 20 minutes.
5. In the last five minutes of cooking, when the rice is almost done and is still al dente, in a separate bowl, dissolve the envelopes of saffron in a cup of hot broth. Add the mixture into the rice and stir to distribute evenly.
6. In the last two to three minutes of cooking, stir in Parmigiano cheese. Then stir in dollop of butter. Remove from flame when the rice is cooked to taste, but not mushy. Serve immediately, as the rice will continue to absorb the moisture and change consistency. The mixture should be creamy at the time of serving. Tip: If the mixture should become too dry, without putting the pot back on the flame, simply add in a little bit of hot broth and stir well.
7. Optionally, garnish the plates with a few reserved saffron stems.
Julia and Daniele