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Risotto Milanese

Risotto Milanese

Though this is delicious even in its simplicity, I give it distinction with a sprinkling of truffle salt. Easy.

Click here for more of the 101 Best Slow Cooker Recipes


Truffle salt can be found in gourmet food markets, in some upscale grocery stores, and online. While it’s not absolutely necessary here, it adds a complex, earthy note to the risotto. If you cannot find it, simply substitute sea salt or kosher salt.


  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Cup dry white wine
  • 5 1/2 Cups homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Cups arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 Teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3/4 Teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Truffle salt, for garnish


Calories Per Serving331

Folate equivalent (total)209µg52%

Riboflavin (B2)0.2mg10.5%

Saffron Risotto | Risotto Milanese Recipe

Here is the traditional recipe of saffron risotto (Risotto alla Milanese), probably one of the most famous risotto recipe. Creamy and tasty, saffron risotto, according to the Milanese recipe, is made with saffron, butter, beef or chicken stock, dry white wine and Parmigiano cheese.

The choice of the type of rice, for the excellent result of the Milanese risotto, is really important.

The rice traditionally used in the city of Milan is the Carnaroli variety, which is produced in Lombardy. In other regions they prefer Vialone Nano, which is more refined but more difficult to cook both are excellent but for this recipe we used Carnaroli rice that we consider the best choice for the best result.

This dish, typical of northern Italian cuisine, in the authentic recipe includes the use of beef marrow. Not all the people like it in fact this ingredient is optional. So we’ll show you how to cook saffron risotto with or without the marrow, Risotto Milanese with marrow is naturally much tastier, in fact it’s not a coincidence that you often find this dish matched with ossobuco. For the Milanese ossobuco recipe click HERE.

Authentic Italian saffron risotto is usually made with homemade meat stock (beef or chicken). For vegetarians, replace it with vegetable stock (the recipe HERE).

Finally, saffron risotto, made according to the traditional Milanese recipe, wants butter in a fair amount (not oil…). If you prefer a slightly lighter dish, you can reduce the quantities until you use only a knob of butter for the soffritto and a knob of butter for the creaming maybe slightly increase the doses of Grana Padano/Parmigiano Reggiano to make the risotto tasty and creamy.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron or 20 threads
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 cups homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock, heated

Remove 1/2 cup of the heated chicken stock to a small bowl stir in saffron, and set aside. Keep the remaining stock warm in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Combine 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, and stir to coat with the butter mixture. Stir in the wine and cook, stirring continuously, until the wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Stir in the saffron broth and cook, allowing the rice to absorb it, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition and allowing the rice to absorb after each addition before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender (but not mushy), about 20 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, remaining tablespoon butter, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

  • 14 ounces risotto rice (400g about 2 cups), preferably carnaroli or vialone nano
  • 4 cups (950ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or homemade vegetable stock, plus more as needed (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced (about 200g 7 ounces)
  • 1 cup (225ml) dry white wine
  • 2 generous pinches saffron
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 ounces (40g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup (115ml) heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks (optional see note)

Combine rice and stock in a large bowl. Agitate rice with fingers or a whisk to release starch. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a 2-quart liquid cup measure or large bowl. Allow to drain well, shaking rice of excess liquid.

Heat oil in a heavy 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add rice and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until all liquid has evaporated and rice sizzles and takes on a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes.

Give reserved stock a good stir and pour all but 1 cup over rice. Add saffron and a large pinch of salt, increase heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Stir rice once, making sure no stray grains are clinging to side of pan above the liquid. Cover and reduce heat to lowest possible setting.

Cook rice for 10 minutes undisturbed. Stir once, shake pan gently to redistribute rice, cover, and continue cooking until liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is tender with just a faint bite, about 5 minutes longer.

Remove lid. Stir remaining 1 cup of stock to distribute starch, then stir into rice. Increase heat to high, add butter, and cook, stirring and shaking rice constantly until butter has melted and rice is thick and creamy add more stock or water as necessary if risotto becomes too dry. Off heat, add cheese and stir rapidly to thoroughly incorporate. Fold in heavy cream, if using. Season with salt. Serve immediately on hot plates, passing more cheese at the table.

List of Ingredients

  • 2/3 LB. of carnaroli or arborino rice(superfino)
  • 1 OZ. of beef bone marrow (optional)
  • 1/3 CUP of unsalted butter
  • 1/3 CUP of onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 CUP of dry white wine
  • 2 PACKETS of saffron
  • 1 QT. of beef broth
  • 1/3 CUP of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • salt


Over very low heat, melt 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan and the bone marrow (if using). Add the onion and cook gently to sweat the onion, until soft and translucent for around 5 minutes.

Add the rice and toast it over high heat for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Be certain that the rice and onion are well coated with the butter. Add the wine and let cook until it has almost evaporated entirely. Start to add broth in 1 cup increments. Let the rice cook away and absorb the liquid before adding more. Stir occasionally. With the second cup add the saffron and continue cooking in this same way. It should take a total of around 16-20 minutes, depending on how well done you want the rice. Salt as needed.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the remaining butter and the cheese. Mix well for a soft, creamy consistency. Cover and let sit 1 minute, then serve.

Cesare Battisti's Risotto alla Milanese Recipe

Ingredients for 4

1 cup of authentic carnaroli rice
3½ cups of veal broth
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ stick butter (preferably alpine)
3 oz. Tipico Lodigiano cheese, grated (If you can’t find this, just substitue Parmigiano Reggiano.)
4 slices of bone marrow
20 saffron pistils
1 sachet of saffron powder

For the gremolata (optional):
lemon peel

For the gremolata:
Finely chop the parsley, anchovies, lemon peel, and garlic, and mix together, with a mortar and pestle if possible. If not, crush with the flat part of a spoon. This condiment is typically served alongside meat dishes.

For the risotto:
Cover the bottom of a saucepan with extra-virgin olive oil, once warm, add the rice. Toast until the rice becomes translucent – about 3 minutes over high heat, stirring constantly.

Start cooking with the filtered meat broth. Add a ladleful, then the saffron powder and pistils, and cook. When the rice absorbs the broth, add another ladleful. The total cooking time should be 14-15 minutes – stir constantly. When cooked, turn off the heat, stir in the cheese and butter, and mantecare.

Finish with the slices of seared marrow and some saffron pistils, and drizzle the gremolata over the marrow and rice.

  • In a heavy-based saucepan that’s large enough to hold the rice with plenty of room left over, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until it’s translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice and cook it over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the wine, 2 cups of broth, and the saffron. Turn the heat to high until the broth comes to a simmer and then adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer.
  • Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every minute or two (there’s no need to stir constantly). Add another cup of broth and keep cooking, stirring, and adding broth until the rice is al dente but not raw or grainy in the middle (see tip on Stirring risotto).
  • When the rice is ready, stir in the cheese. Add a little more broth to give the risotto the consistency you like (from fairly tight to almost soupy). Off the heat, stir in the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper and ladle onto heated plates or bowls.

Make Ahead Tips

If you try to make risotto ahead completely and then reheat it, it will be overcooked and mushy. Instead, you can cook it until it’s about halfway done—the rice should still be rather firm inside—and then spread it out on a baking sheet to stop cooking and cool. Cover the rice and set it aside at room temperature for up to two hours. When you’re ready to serve the risotto, return it to the pot and resume adding hot liquid until it’s perfectly al dente, a few minutes later.

If you have any leftover risotto, it’s delicious made into crunchy Risotto Cakes.

Recipe Notes

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Risotto Milanese

Pour a small amount (approx 20ml) of white wine into a small mixing bowl and add approx. 10-15 saffron threads and set aside to infuse.

Dice the brown onion and set aside, pour all the stock into the saucepan and place over high heat and bring to the boil.

Place the fry-pan over medium heat and once hot add extra virgin olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook until the onion is opaque (2 minutes). Next add the rice and toast the rice for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.

Next add the white wine and saffron and cook until evaporated, add the boiling stock next and stir the mixture, once the mixture has boiled place the lid on the pan and place the pan into a preheated oven steam setting 100˚C for 14 minutes.

Once cooked remove the pan from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the lid from the pan and add the butter and parmesan cheese, toss the pan well and check the seasoning.

Pour the risotto out onto a large serving plate, garnish with saffron strands and grated parmesan and serve.


This recipe uses very simple ingredients but highlights saffron as one of the world’s best spices. Correct seasoning is the key to this dish.

We often get asked why we use a lid with such recipes, this method is called ‘indirect steaming’ and uses the pressure of the oven to help cook the dish.

Nigel Slater's milanese recipes

T he backbone of my daily eating remains unshakably Italian. This is hardly surprising when you realise that so many of my local food shops are, or were, Italian owned. Give me 10 minutes and I could bring you anything from a fine-grained salami Milano to silken spinach tortelloni. Yet it would take me an hour or more to come up with a black pudding or an Eccles cake worth eating, and even that would have to come from the nearest Marks & Spencer. But there is more to eating all' Italiana than the appeal of shopping locally. I like the simplicity of Italian cooking, its straightforwardness of preparation and, above all, its understated elegance on the plate.

If I was pressed a little further, I would have to admit to a love of northern Italian cooking, with its abundance of butter, cheese, rice and cream. I suppose its meat and dairy produce cannot help but appear closer to our own cooking than the sun-drenched olive oil, fish and vegetable-dominated diet of the south. Perhaps there is some familiarity in its bland heartiness. One could even argue that the nannying quality of a saffron-hued risotto alla Milanese is not a stone's throw from our own beloved rice pudding.

Forgetting the old Italian addiction to veal and frogs (whose little green heads they chop off before frying the rest whole), the cooking of Milan and its environs is my sort of food, by which I mean I feel comfortable with it. Its nurturing bean soups, blissful pork and cabbage stews and oozing, blue-veined Gorgonzola appeal every bit as much as any sun-dried tomato. Most of all, it is the silky risotti that ring my bell and, what's more, I like making them as much as eating them. Few kitchen-related jobs give me more pleasure than stirring a risotto, though I admit that for years I avoided it, obviously having spent too long listening to those scaremongers who insisted there was something difficult about it. There is not. You just need the right rice - which you can get at any supermarket - and some full-bodied stock.

I have not eaten the eponymous risotto alla Milanese, with its flecking of saffron and knobs of beef marrow, on its home ground, but further north, in Bergamo - a creamy, almost pumpkin-coloured plateful of round rice held together with stock and cheese. One of the few occasions I get excited about saffron is when it is used with rice - in pilau, perhaps - or in fish soup, otherwise its musty flavour can too easily dominate. However, the golden crocus threads are essential to a true Milanese risotto. The beef marrow, on the other hand, is much less essential, I think. Yes, it adds a certain richness, but I am not sure I miss it when I don't include it - which, I should add, is every time. At the risk of evoking (yet again) the wrath of every purist, I use home-made chicken stock in my risotto instead of the statutory brodo di carne with its trio of beef, veal and chicken bones. The unctuousness you give to the dish by using veal stock can be obtained instead with a really good chicken version made from a fat-boned free ranger. On the other hand, I have to disagree with those who say that stock from a cube is fine for a risotto - it isn't. The whole point of the dish is the texture you get by using the right rice - Carnaroli, Arborio or Vialone nano - and good stock. The magic only happens when the chalky starch of the rice is swelled by jelly-rich stock. You just don't get that with a cube. And no, you cannot make it in the oven, no matter who tells you that you can.

Risotto is not the only Milanese recipe that crops up in my kitchen. It is simply that it crops up more often than any other. Their way of cooking veal - lightly egged and finely crumbed, then fried briefly in butter till crisp and juicy - is just as interesting when applied to similar cuts of other meat. I have done it with pork, batting out the chop with the end of a rolling pin (for want of a cutlet bat) so that it is no thicker than a pinkie. The clever bit comes when you coat it in beaten egg and crumbs - you need a light hand with both - and fry it in butter gently so it does not burn. A splendid dish if done well.

Classical Milanese cooking also includes polpette, the little meatballs which they flavour with ricotta and Parmesan and which I find all too easy to eat, and osso bucco, that famous braise of veal with onion and white wine, which I don't, despite its coming to the table with a mouth-popping dusting of lemon, garlic and parsley.

On a sweet note, I must say I prefer my puddings â l'anglaise or even French, but I do have a soft spot for panettone, the soft, vanilla-scented fruitcake you see hanging from the ceiling of every deli around Milan's via Spadari - not to mention every deli from Glasgow to Penzance. A while ago, this buttery cake was just for Christmas now you can get it all year round. I slice and toast it, then pour over a spoonful or two of Italian mascarpone stirred through with some softly whipped double cream just to make it, and me, feel at home.

Risotto alla Milanese
Use beef marrow if you can get it, but I must say Italian friends of mine claim that they happily use a few cubes of pancetta instead, though this is somewhat inauthentic. Serves 2

1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
75g butter
50g pancetta, finely chopped
900ml stock (beef or chicken)
225g risotto rice
1 glass of white wine
1 tsp saffron strands
50g freshly grated Parmesan

Let the shallot cook slowly with half the butter and the chopped pancetta in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until it is translucent. Try not to let it colour. Meanwhile, put the stock into another saucepan and bring to the boil, turning it down to a virtually imperceptible simmer. Stir the rice into the onions, then pour in the wine and let it almost evaporate before adding a ladleful of stock. Sprinkle in the saffron threads and continue gently simmering until the stock starts to disappear, then ladle in more stock. As the stock is absorbed by the rice, you will see it swell and turn a beautiful, pale gold.

Continue adding stock until the rice is thick and creamy but still has some bite left in it. This should take about 20 minutes, depending on the rice you choose. The texture you are after is one where the rice grains are still separate but bound together by a general creaminess. If it appears soft and mushy, then you have overcooked it. Season with salt, pepper and the rest of butter, stirring in the Parmesan as you bring it to the table. You can offer more if you wish.

Risotto with Gorgonzola
I sometimes wonder whether it is Gorgonzola rather than risotto that is the best thing to come out of Lombardy. Here, you get the chance to enjoy both. Serves 2

900ml (maybe a little more) home-made chicken stock
1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
50g butter
250g risotto rice
1 glass of white wine

to finish
1 walnut-sized lump of butter
250g creamy Gorgonzola

Gently heat the stock in a saucepan. Cook the onion in the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. When the onion is pale gold and soft, add the rice and stir through the butter. Pour in the wine, let it evaporate, then add about a third of the hot stock and cook gently, until the rice has absorbed almost all of the stock. Add a second third of the stock, cook slowly (again stirring regularly), then the final third. By the time almost all the stock is absorbed, the grains should be soft and plump yet with a little chalky bite to them. The total cooking time for the rice will be about 20 minutes.

Stir in the knob of butter and the blue cheese, crumbled into small lumps. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve as the cheese starts to melt.

Toasted panettone with mascarpone cream
I have used panettone, the light, buttery Milanese cake, for everything from trifle to bread-and-butter pudding, but I prefer it simply toasted and served with cream cheese. I find mascarpone too rich to serve alone, so let it down with some softly whipped cream. You could add some grated dark chocolate, or a little orange zest. Enough for 6

1 small panettone
250g tub of mascarpone
150ml whipping cream

Slice the panettone and toast it lightly on both sides. Meanwhile, whip the cream until it will stand in soft waves, then carefully fold it into the mascarpone. Serve the toasted panettone with the mascarpone cream.

Risotto Milanese Recipe

Often I am asked by friends to teach them how to make Risotto because they think it’s difficult to prepare and because of the mystique created by restaurants.

It’s never on the menu but always there as a “Special”. And then we are told by the waiter to be prepared for a long evening because the “chef makes his Risotto to order”, which they do.

They are always surprised to see that it’s not difficult to make at all. What’s wonderful about learning to make basic Risotto is the number of variations you can create afterwards. This is a very versatile and adaptable dish and a great way to clean out your refrigerator.

What’s especially interesting about this dish is its contrasting texture that is both creamy and crunchy at the same time. What creates this interesting contrasting texture? Both the Arborio (pronounced ar-boh-ree-oh) rice and the cooking technique.

Arborio rice comes from Italy. Its short, fat grains have a hard starchy center and a soft starchy shell. So it makes sense that, when cooked, the soft shell produces creaminess while the center remains crunchy.

The best Arborio rice is a premium Carnaroli rice imported from Italy. It’s hard to find but worth the search.

The next most important ingredient is the stock and you’re not going to believe how much liquid Arborio rice can absorb. The ratio of liquid to rice varies from cookbook to cookbook.

I like to use 7 cups liquid to 2 cups rice, but play around with different ratios until you find the one that works for you.

Depending on the type of Risotto you’re making, you can use fish, beef, chicken, or vegetable stock. If possible, stay away from canned broth, because it’s loaded with chemicals and tons of salt.

Be sure to add the liquid a little at a time while stirring constantly in order to release the rice’s starch.

I read that Risotto Milanese dates back to 1574 when a stained glass artisan named Zafferano added some saffron that he used for coloring his paints to his risotto for his daughter’s wedding. In no time this dish was the talk of the town and still is. If this is not true, it makes for a great story.

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. It comes from a tiny purple crocus flowers that produce three stigmas per flower that are hand picked and dried.

It takes 14, 000 of these delicate stigmas to produce one ounce of saffron. Lucky for us a little goes a long way.

Once you’ve mastered Risotto Milanese, try experimenting with mushrooms, veggies, cheese, fish, chicken, duck or whatever else you have on hand.