Risotto alla Milanese is a classical dish from Milan. The story dates back to 1574 when the daughter of master glassmaker, Valerio of Flanders, was to marry her father’s assistant, whom Valerio had nicknamed ‘Zafferano’ due to the young man’s love for and use of the spice – including the glass windows of the Cathedral of Milan. To celebrate his marriage, friends of ‘Zafferano’ prepared a dish of rice colored with saffron as a joke which led to the timeless success of the traditional dish.
Recipe by Grace Parisi
- 5 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Vialone Nano or Carnaroli rice (10 ounces)
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer; keep warm.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring to thoroughly coat.
- Crumble the saffron into the wine and add it to the rice.
- Cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed.
- Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed.
- Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions.
- The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 20 minutes total.
- Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese and butter and serve immediately.