For our recipe of the month, we take you to Italy. Here is the traditional recipe of saffron risotto (Risotto alla Milanese), probably one of the most famous risotto recipe. Creamy and tasty, saffron risotto, according to the Milanese recipe, is made with saffron, butter, beef or chicken stock, dry white wine and Parmigiano cheese.
How to Make Saffron Risotto
Prep Time: 10 Min Cook Time: 20 Min serves: 4
- 350 g (12 oz) of Carnaroli rice (or a long grain starchy rice)
- 2 liters of beef or chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads
- 90 g (3 oz) of butter
- beef marrow (optional)
- 30 g (1 oz) of onion (or shallot)
- 100 ml dry white wine
- 60g (2 oz) of grated Grana Padano cheese (or Parmesan )
Step 1) – First of all, make beef or chicken stock. It must be tasty, so try it before making saffron risotto. If necessary, season with salt. When the broth boils, reduce the heat and hold at a gentle simmer covered with a lid: the stock must be poured really hot into the risotto. Meanwhile, cut the onion into small pieces, if possible “as big” as a grain of rice (when cooked, it must not be possible to tell onion from rice).
Step 2) – Place half the butter (about 45 g) in a large pan. Use a pan that is right for cooking risotto, a non-stick pan made in aluminum like the one we used to make this recipe would be perfect. Now add the marrow (or you can decide whether to add it in the final creaming as if it were butter), but only if you like it. We preferred to add it as an optional ingredient even if the traditional Italian recipe for saffron risotto requires marrow. Finally add the onion.
Step 3) – Simmer for 2 minutes on medium heat, till the onion is soft and traslucent, stirring from time to time. Now add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, always stirring (till the grains are slightly glassy).
Step 4) – Then add the white wine, stir and let it evaporate, over high heat. Even this ingredient could be considered optional: if you don’t like the acidity that releases the white wine, do not add it and go to the next step.
Step 5) – Add the boiling stock. At first, there will be a sizzle: part of the stock, in contact with the hot pan, evaporates then immediately add another ladle. During cooking, the rice must always be covered with stock; in this way the starches are released and the grain does not break. The stock must be at the level of the rice: not too little, which you struggle to stir it, nor too much because you run the risk of the boiled rice effect. How long does it take for a perfectly cooked rice? For Carnaroli rice about 14 minutes, plus 3 for creaming. So let it cook and stir occasionally until ready.
Step 6) – While the rice is cooking, crush the saffron threads between two sheets of parchment paper then dissolve the powder in half a ladle of hot stock. After about 14 minutes of cooking, the stock will be almost completely evaporated and the risotto is almost ready, so turn off the heat.
Step 7) – Now with the heat off, add the saffron and mix thoroughly. Saffron is thermolabile, that is, it loses its aroma if it remains in contact with heat for a long time. For this reason it’s better adding it to the risotto just after removing it from the heat, stirring well until it is evenly distributed.
Step 8) – Finally, add the butter (the other half). As mentioned above, if you like marrow , you can add it now (cut into little pieces), instead of butter.
Step 9) – Then add the grated cheese. Now stir. Parmigiano reggiano or grana padano must be grated on the spot, with the grater. The cheese is not minced in the blender, it’s not used if it has been grated for some time and it’s not bought already grated. It must be absolutely fresh and of excellent quality. Like the butter. This is the secret of the perfect creaming.
Step 10) –Saffron risotto is ready, creamy but al dente. Serve immediately.
For more tips about cooking Risotto visit Recipe From Italy