My favourite risotto! I love the colour and I love the simplicity and I love the taste. Saffron is a wonder food to me, and the inclusion of it in this risotto was bound to win me over. And, just to name name drop a wee bit, the first time I had this was in Milan. Romantacising or not, who could argue that the setting could not be better. Actually that whole evening was wonderful, despite that we had arrived from Scotland via Heathrow without our bags, and as you might imagine, Milan is not the best place to feel shabby. One bag turned up the next day, the evening of which we found a fabulous neighbourhood restaurant, with all the atmosphere one could wish for ; the electricity went out whenever the coffee machine was used, the waiters were amazing and the food divine. No wonder the risotto Milanese formed such a great impression.
In my version I use marrow ; it adds such a wonderful unctuousness. If I am serving this with osso bucco then I will push the marrow from the bones before cooking and use it in the risotto.
to serve four
350g rice suitable for risotto such as arborio, carnaroli, vialone or nano
a large pinch of saffron
1.5L chicken stock
200mL white wine
6 tablespoons of butter, substituting up to half the volume with marrow
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
50g Parmesan, grated
Bring the stock to a gentle simmer and add the saffron.
Melt the butter and marrow in a large frying pan or shallow saucepan over a medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the rice and stir well to coat the rice in the fat. Add the white wine and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of the simmering stock and again stir until the liquid has been absorbed, but the pan is not completely dry. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time until is all used and the rice is al dente. You may need to supplement the stock with water, or more stock and you might not use it all.
Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in most of the Parmesan. Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkled with the remaining Parmesan.
The best way to enjoy making this is with a glass of wine and someone nice to keep you company while you stir, although, alone with the wine, it is a lovely meditative half hour.