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Risotto alla Milanese Recipe - Milanese Saffron Risotto

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Risotto allo Zafferano, or Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto allo Zafferano, or Risotto alla Milanese

© Kyle Phillips, Licensed to About.Com
Artusi remarked, a little more than a century ago, that the preparation of risotto alla milanese is best left to the Milanese and then gave three recipes (two are in my translation of his book) -- this suggests he thought others should enjoy it too. It is true that the dish offers a great chef an excellent opportunity to showcase her talents, but a home cook can do very well with care.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (600g) short grained rice, e.g. Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
  • 1 1/2 quarts (1.5 l) good meat broth, boiling hot
  • 2/3 cup (120 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 ounces (70 g) beef marrow (get this from your butcher, or an oriental market), minced
  • A small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry white (not oaky) wine, warmed if possible
  • A packet of saffron pistils (about 0.1 g -- powdered will do, but pistils are much better)
  • 2 1/3 cups (120 g) grated Parmigiano (half this if you are using the risotto as a bed for ossibuchi)
  • 6 sheets real gold leaf (quite optional, as garnish for a truly extravagant meal) - another option for garnishing is 6 chives

Preparation:

Place the saffron pistils in a bowl to steep with some of the meat broth.

In a casserole, simmer the finely sliced onion and the beef marrow in half the butter over an extremely low flame for about 10 minutes; the onion should become translucent but not brown. Remove the onion and marrow with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

Sauté the rice over a moderate flame for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn. About a minute before the rice is done, return the onion mixture to the pot. Stir in the warmed wine, and cook, stirring, until it has completely evaporated. Then stir in a first ladle of the hot broth, and once most has been absorbed, another, stirring and adding liquid until the rice is almost at the al dente stage.

Stir in the saffron pistils, the remainder of the butter, half the cheese, turn of the flame, and let the risotto sit covered for a minute. Then serve it, either as a bed for ossibuchi alla milanese or as a first course, with the remainder of the cheese on the side. If you are serving the risotto with the gold leaf, divvy it into individual portions in the kitchen and carefully lay a sheet of gold over each. Or, you could go with a chive, as is shown here.

Note: When you add the wine, it is very important that it be warm, because the addition of cold liquid will shock the rice and make it flake.

Yield: 6 servings Risotto alla Milanese.

Got some leftover risotto? Make risotto al salto!

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