Today I’m bringing you one of my absolute favourite recipes – risotto alla milanese. I wrote this recipe for a guest post on Bistropop a while back, but it’s so perfect for a crisp late November evening that I want to share it with you all now. My usual ramblings about Verona will return later this week, I promise.
This risotto, rich with bone marrow and butter, has been fundamental to my understanding of Italy for as long as I can remember. As a food-obsessed teenager I would flick through the one recipe book that was always propped open on our kitchen worktop – Delia’s Complete Cookery Course. Among the instructions for making pancakes and sponge cakes, there was a recipe for Risotto alla Milanese. I was enchanted by that sunflower yellow bowl of rice.
Perhaps the charm lies in the very un-british simplicity of a dish that contains only rice, stock and animal fat – the unexpected extravagance arriving in the form of saffron. The Italians are masters of confident simplicity.
The finished risotto should be all’onda– like a wave – rich, unctuous, and rippling with flavour.
Risotto alla Milanese
risotto (arborio) rice, measured to the 350ml level in a measuring jug
A pinch of saffron strands, infused in a little warm water
2 tbsp bone marrow
5 tbsp dry white wine
Boiling chicken stock (homemade is best here)
4 tbsp grated parmesan
Begin by melting half the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Then add the chopped onion and bone marrow and cook, over a low heat, for about 10 minutes until softened.
Stir in the rice and cook for a minute before adding the wine, saffron infused water, and some salt. Stir gently once, then simmer over a low heat, without a lid, until the liquid has been absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).
Gradually add ladlefuls of stock, letting each one absorb before adding the next. Continue adding the boiling stock and stirring until the rice is tender but still creamy.
There should still be a very little liquid visible. Stir as necessary to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan – particularly towards the end.
When the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat, vigorously stir in the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste then serve with grated Parmesan.