photo courtesy the Academy for International Culinary Arts (AICA)
Italian comfort food and an international gourmet dish, all in one, is what describes a luscious Risotto a la Milanese.
Authentic risotto is a delight, and is also easier to make than many think. It just requires a little planning and some patience. But when there is heavenly Risotto a la Milanese involved, time stands still anyway!
A plain risotto (is there such a thing?) is made spectacular with the addition of saffron, resulting in a sensuous, enticing dish. This is a simple recipe, usually made with a variety of short-grained rice called Arborio, but really can be made with any short-grained white rice.
Stir is the operative term! It is the constant stirring that makes it risotto; it is the saffron that makes it Risotto a la Milanese!
Makes 8 servings as an accompaniment or 4 servings as a main course
5 cups chicken stock
3 saffron threads
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp virgin olive oil, mild-flavored
1 small onion, minced very fine
1 ½ cups Arborio rice (or any short-grained white rice)
½ cup white wine
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ cup grated aged D.O.C. Grana Padano cheese
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan to a steady simmer. Turn down heat just enough to keep the stock hot, but not simmering. In a small bowl, combine the saffron threads and 3 Tbsp hot stock; set aside to steep. In another saucepan place the butter and olive oil over medium heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Add the minced onion and sauté, stirring, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the rice to the pot and stir to coat every grain of rice with the butter and oil. Continue stirring until the rice begins to turn translucent and has absorbed much of the oil. Do not let the rice burn! Add the wine and continue to stir until the liquid is absorbed. As soon as the rice starts to become dry, begin adding the chicken stock, one ladleful at a time. Stir and cook until the rice has absorbed the stock, then add another ladleful. Continue this process until all of the stock has been used or until the rice is tender (but not mushy) and the sauce is still moist and creamy. Stir in the 3 Tbsp saffron water, 2 Tbsp butter, Italian parsley and the D.O.C. Grana Padano cheese. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.