Saffron risotto (Risotto alla Milanese) is a typical recipe of the city of Milan. The origins of this recipe are very old. It is said that, in the fifteenth century, Valerio di Fiandra, decided to add a little of saffron to his risotto recipe in order to achive more flavor and color. If you are curious and want to know better the history of Risotto alla Milanese, read this post on italyheritage.com.
Saffron Risotto recipe has spread throughout Italy and became very famous. Depending on the region, it’s often enriched with other ingredients like Ossobuco, sausages, mushrooms and seafood.
Risotto-type cooking is exclusively Italian. That is thanks of starch retention. In fact, during the cooking process, the grains binds together in a creamy compound. Among the different qualities of rice, there are some particularly suitable for risotto, such as Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone nano. They are grown in the rice fields of Piedmont and Lombardy, north of Italy.
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Saffron Risotto Recipe
- 400g (2 cups) Carnaroli rise
- 1l (4 cups) chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you are vegetarian)
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads or 2 sachets of saffron
- 125g (4,4 oz) butter
- 1 little onion, finely chopped
- 250ml (1 cup) dry white win
- 50g (3/4 tablespoons) grated Parmigiano cheese
- grated Parmigiano cheese, to serve
Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a medium saucepan, over high heat. Reduce heat and hold at a gentle simmer.
In a large saucepan heat the butter with the onion (1). Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes on medium heat, till the onion is soft and traslucent (2). Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, always stirring. The grains must appear slightly glassy. Add the white wine, stir and let it evaporate, over high heat (3).
Add one ladleful of boiling stock, stirring constantly (4). When the rice has absorbed all the stock, add one more ladleful. Stir until liquid is absorbed before adding the next. After ten minutes cooking, add saffron to 1/2 cup of hot stock, stir and add it to risotto (5). Cook for eight minutes or until rice is tender yet firm to the bite. Turn off the heat and add the remaining butter (6).
Stir and add grated Parmigiano cheese (7). Saffron risotto should be creamy but the grains must remain al dente(8). Serve hot with the addition of more grated Parmigiano cheese to taste (9) .
How to make Vegetarian Saffron Risotto
The classic Saffron Risotto recipe real milanese is cooked with stock – usually made with chicken or mixed meats – and butter. If you are vegetarian you can use a good vegetable stock and excellent olive oil EVO (Extra Virgin Oil). This way you will still make a delicious vegetarian Risotto alla Milanese. Without the addition of Parmesan cheese, you will eat a great Vegan Saffron Risotto.