Risotto alla Milanese

Saffron Rice

Milano, Lombardia

You find this yellow risotto everywhere in Milan, but how often is it made with real saffron, real stock and bone marrow?

This is the traditional partner to ossobuco.


1 small onion, chopped

Small piece of marrow from a beef bone (optional)

50g (2oz) butter

1 litre (1 3/4   pints) meat or chicken stock

150 ml (5 fl oz) dry white or red wine

300g (10oz) Arborio rice


½  teaspoon saffron threads, or 1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron

50g (2oz) grated parmesan

  1. In a large saucepan, fry the onion and marrow, if using, in half the butter until the onion is soft and transparent.
  2. In a separate saucepan, heat the stock. Add the wine to the fried onion and boil until much reduced.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains well. Add the salt and the boiling stock gradually, ladleful by ladleful, stirring constantly as it becomes absorbed. After about 17 minutes add the saffron diluted in some of the stock.
  4. When the rice is done – there should be enough liquid to make it creamy, but the grains must still be firm – add the rest of the butter, and the parmesan.

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