Risotto alla Milanese is a classic Italian risotto made with saffron threads and Arborio rice. This creamy and comforting risotto dish is a great main course or side dish, and is perfect for any occasion.
Risotto alla Milanese is a traditional way to make risotto using a pinch of saffon for flavoring. Made with just a few simple ingredients, this recipe showcases all of the classic flavors of perfectly cooked risotto.
If you love risotto, be sure to try this Chicken Risotto or Mushroom Pea Risotto. And for a delicious protein to pair with this dish, don't miss this Pan Seared Shrimp with Garlic or Slow Cooker Turkey Breast.
You'll Love Risotto alla Milanese
Risotto alla Milanese is a classic Milanese recipe that's full of flavor and delicious in its simplicity. This recipe makes a great first course. Plus, pairs perfectly with Italian meats.
True risotto alla Milanese hails from northern Italy. It is made with just a few classic ingredients including Arborio rice, white wine, saffron and broth, and finished with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Risotto is the classic creamy rice dish that's made without any cream. This recipe gets its creaminess from the high starch Arborio rice which releases its starches as it cooks.
If you've never made risotto before, it's actually quite simple to do. You'll need a large heavy pot to make it in, and a bit of patience while you stir the rice. It's all worth it for the creamy rich flavor!
So, if you're looking to make a truly classic and delicious Risotto Milanese, give this recipe a try. You're going to love it!
Arborio Rice: arborio is a short grain, high starch rice that is used to make risotto. For best results, I recommend only using risotto rice or carnaroli rice.
Saffron Threads: saffron is a spice derived from the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower. While saffron can be expensive, it is necessary for Risotto alla Milanese and you only need a pinch of saffron for the recipe.
White Wine: a dry white wine is the best choice.
Broth: to cook the risotto you can use either chicken broth or vegetable broth. To make a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth.
Onion: you'll need a small finely diced yellow onion or white onion.
Parmesan: you'll need freshly grated parmesan cheese to finish off the cooked risotto.
Butter: use unsalted butter for browning the risotto and finishing off the dish.
Salt & Pepper: kosher salt and ground black pepper for seasoning.
Parsley: chopped Italian parsley is a great way to garnish the risotto and add color.
How to Make Risotto alla Milanese
Risotto alla Milanese is a simple dish made with a few ingredients. To start, you'll need a heavy pan or pot, like a dutch oven. Also, heat the vegetable stock or chicken stock on the stove in a separate pot until it is hot; keep warm.
Step 1: steep the saffron
About 10-15 minutes before starting, crush the saffron threads into the wine using your fingers. Set aside and let them infuse the wine while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2: toast the rice
In a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat, add in the two tablespoons of butter and the finely diced onion. Cook, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Then, add in the arborio rice and use a wooden spoon to stir the rice and allow it to toast slightly. This should take about 3-4 minutes total.
Step 3: gradually add in the liquid
Turn the stove to medium heat and add in the saffron-infused wine. Then, continually stir until the wine until it is mostly absorbed by the rice.
Then, return the stove to medium-high heat and gradually add in ladles of warm broth (about a cup of stock), stirring constantly, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid after each addition.
The key to a good risotto is to do this process of gradually adding broth while stirring constantly. Continue cooking and adding liquid until the risotto is al dente.
Step 4: finish of the risotto
Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and parmesan cheese. Then, let sit for a few minutes to rest before serving.
Lastly, garnish the Risotto alla Milanese with more parmesan cheese and chopped parsley if desired. Serve immediately.
Helpful Risotto Making Tips
Use the Right Rice: Opt for Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano rice varieties. These specific varieties have a high starch content. The starch helps create the creamy texture Risotto alla Milanese is known for.
Sauté Ingredients Properly: Begin by sautéing aromatics like onions or shallots in butter or olive oil until translucent before adding the rice. This builds a flavor base for the risotto.
Add Warm Stock Gradually: Incorporate warm stock into the rice ladle by ladle, stirring continuously. This gradual addition allows the rice to release its starches, resulting in a creamy texture.
Stir Constantly: Stir the risotto frequently throughout the cooking process. This allows the release of starches and prevents the rice from sticking to the pan or burning.
Finish with Butter and Cheese: Once the rice is cooked al dente, remove it from the heat. Then,stir in a knob of butter and grated Parmesan cheese. This step gives the risotto its final creamy consistency and enhances its taste.
How to Reheat Risotto: To reheat leftover Risotto alla Milanese, add a splash of broth or water to a pan. Then, gently heat the risotto over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through and creamy again.
Leftover Risotto: use leftover risotto to make Risotto Cakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it called Risotto alla Milanese?
Risotto alla Milanese originating in 16th century Milan. It is said to have been created when saffron was added to rice for coloring the stained glass windows of the Duomo di Milano. This led to the creation of the dish, which is known for its yellow color.
What to serve with Risotto Milanese?
Risotto alla Milanese pairs well with a variety of dishes such as osso buco (braised veal shanks), grilled or roasted meats such as chicken or beef. To make vegetarian, serve with Italian roasted vegetables or a simple side salad dressed with a light vinaigrette.
More Classic Italian Dishes
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Risotto alla Milanese
- dutch oven or large pot
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 4-5 cups chicken or vegetable broth (kept hot)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley for topping (optional)
- In a small bowl, crumble the saffron threads into the white wine and let them steep and infuse for 10-15 minutes.
- In a dutch oven or large pot, heat two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook until it becomes translucent, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the Arborio rice to the pan and toast it for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the saffron-infused wine and stir continuously until the wine is mostly absorbed by the rice.
- Begin adding the hot broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Allow each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and cooked to al dente texture.
- Once the rice is cooked remove from heat and stir in the remaining two tablespoons of butter and parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Let the risotto rest a minute before serving. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to garnish.