Friday 29 September 2006

ri·sot·to Mil·an·ese

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.

Risotto Milanese
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.


Julie said...

I have made risotto literally dozens of times, but have never done a simple milanese. I love to fill mine out with vegetables. The saffron is so beautiful, though. I utterly agree with your final paragraph. I fully view risotto making as a simple pleasure.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to agree with Julie as well. I make a mushroom one fairly often, but risotto is a dish that you have to just enjoy making at the end of the day.
Because as much as people enjoy it, it really is about you standing over the dish and continuing to work it until it surrenders to you. I compare it to non-contact dumpling making where you are just focused on the food for a while and not much else. (It non-contact because stirring is much less stressful then making sure you fold evenly.)

Veron said...

I love risotto and my favorite one is either with mushrooms or saffron. Standing and stirring the risotto does not bother me at all, it is kind of therapeutic as you watch the risotto become ...
You are right with the wine , always a pleasure to sip wine while cooking... the best way I could think of enjoying a weekend.

Emma said...

Just you and your wine and food - very peaceful!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lover of Risotto said...

I have to agree with the rest of you - the risotto dish is a delight to make. It’s definitely one of my favorites. The cons can be finding good products and recipes - I myself have never had a problem using Riso Scotti's brand of rice risotto. I’d recommend it to anyone giving the dish a shot. They have a Milanese risotto recipe, too, like this delicious post. :)