Grape Gourmet – Cucina Dello Zio

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Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese
by James Belardo

Risotto may not be the ‘king of quick’ sides, but it is worth the time spent preparing it. You can easily top it with peas (Risi e Bisi), sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, rapini or even broccoli. Another super way to use risotto is to make Arancini (rice balls) – a guaranteed hit!

Risotto alla Milanese is one of the most basic risotto recipes with it’s distinction of using saffron (hense the yellow color) and is is traditionally paired with Osso Buco. 

According to Wikipedia (Italy)
“Risotto alla milanese was born in 1574 at the table of the Belgian glassmaker Valerio di Fiandra, who at the time resided in Milan because he was working on the windows of the Duomo of Milan. For his daughter’s wedding, her glazed colleagues added saffron butter to a white risotto: this spice was in fact used by the glassmakers to obtain a particular yellow color of the glasses. The new dish was immediately successful, both for its taste and its yellow hue, which reminded of gold, synonymous with wealth. Saffron has also recognized pharmacological properties and therefore the yellow risotto soon spread to Milan’s taverns and taverns.”

1 – 1.5 cups Arborio Rice
1/2-1/4 cup onions, finely diced*
2 – 3 cloves garlic*
1 cup white wine
4 – 6 cups homemade chicken stock
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
1/2 tsp of saffron (optional but recommended if making Arancini Siciliani)
1-2 dashes turmeric – optional
salt and pepper – to taste

*(shallots can be used instead of the onions and garlic combo)

Try adding peas, sun-dried tomatoes or possibly folding in asparagus, rapini or broccoli.


Sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley.


1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven. Sauté onions and garlic until onions (or shallots) are translucent and garlic begins to brown.

2. Add Arborio rice along with 1 tbsp butter, mix well until all grains are coated with the butter and oil. Cook until the grains absorb the liquid and you can begin to smell the rice toasting.

4. Add wine, mix well and heat until the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

5. Following the same procedure, add liquid and wait for the rice to absorb before adding another cup of heated broth. You can add another tbsp of butter at any stage. Before the last cup of broth you can add the Pecorino Romano along with the saffron and black pepper.

6. Add last cup of broth and cook until the risotto is as to the consistency of your liking. Garnish with fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley.



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Written by Zio James

December 4, 2019 at 10:11 AM

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