Sunday night was the night for Risotto all milanese (Saffron Risotto in the Style of Milan). This is one of our “Recipes in Rotation” that we make about once a month. Rosanne had spent Saturday making stock and we often use it to make risotto and soup. The recipe is below. It is quite tasty. You can serve it with your favorite vegetables like asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and more.
Sweating the onions
The first stock goes in
Adding some of the saffron steeped in the warm stock
Ready to eat
Risotto alla milanese RISOTTO, MILAN STYLE
For 6 persons 1 quart Homemade Meat Broth (page 10) OR 1 cup canned chicken broth mixed with 3 cups of water
2 tablespoons diced beef marrow, pancetta, or prosciutto
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or yellow onion
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups raw Italian Arborio rice
1/3 teaspoon powdered saffron OR 1/2 teaspoon chopped whole saffron, dissolved in 1 1/2 cups hot broth or water
Salt, if necessary
Freshly ground pepper, about 4 twists of the mill or more to taste cup
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring the broth to a slow, steady simmer.
2. In a heavy-bottomed casserole, over medium-high heat, saute the beef marrow and shallots in 3 tablespoons of the butter and all the oil. As soon as the shallots become translucent, add the rice and stir until it is well coated. Saute lightly for a few moments and then add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth, about a ladleful. Proceed accord-ing to the basic directions for making risotto (page 180), adding a ladleful of hot broth as the rice dries out, and stirring it very frequently to prevent it from sticking. After 15 minutes add half the dissolved saffron. When the rice has dried out, add the rest of the saffron. ( The later you add the saffron, the stronger the taste and aroma of saffron will be at the end. Herbs that call too much attention to themselves are a rude intrusion upon the general harmony of a dish, but if you like a stronger saffron presence wait another 5 to 8 minutes before adding the diluted saffron. But be careful it doesn’t upstage your risotto.) When the saffron liquid has been absorbed, finish cooking the risotto with hot broth. (If you run out of broth, add water.)
3. When the rice is done, tender but al dente, firm to the bite, taste for salt. ( If the broth was salty, you might not need any. Con-sider, too, the saltiness of the cheese you will be adding.) Add a few twists of pepper to taste, and turn off the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and all the cheese and mix thoroughly. Spoon into a hot platter and serve with a bowl of freshly grated cheese on the side.
MENU SUGGESTIONS Risotto Milan Style is traditionally served with Braised Veal Shanks, Milan Style ( page 256), one of the rare instances when a first course is served together with the meat course in an Italian menu. It is a well-justified exception, because the two dishes are an ideal complement to each other. This risotto can also be served as a regular first course when the second course is a roasted or braised meat or fowl.