Risotto Milanese… ala Christi

by Christi Borden

As promised, this is my version of Risotto Milanese or Milan-style. What makes it Milan-style? I believe it is the addition of Saffron and cheese but perhaps someone wiser than me can answer that question. Regardless, this is my version and I stand by it.

  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots (finely chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, (minced)
  • 1 Cup Abrorio Rice (there is no substitute)
  • 5 Cups Chicken Stock (homemade is best but Swanson’s will do)
  • 1/2 Bottle Dry Italian White Wine (again, use a quality that you would drink. If it is not good enough to drink, it is not good enough to cook with).
  • Pinch of Saffron (expensive but worth it)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated, not the sawdust stuff in the green bottle)
  • 1 TBS Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

First, Combine stock and wine in a microwave container and heat for 5 minutes. The secret to successful Risotto is adding heated liquids to the rice as you go along instead of shocking the rice with cold liquids and not fully releasing the starches that make this dish so deliciously smooth and delightful.

Second, heat oil over medium/high and saute garlic and shallots for 1 minute (careful not to burn garlic). Add dry rice and saffron, and stir for about 30 seconds to warm and to coat with oil.

Now, the magic of risotto begins: Add enough liquid to cover rice by about 1/2 inch, and constantly stir over medium heat until liquid is almost gone. Continue adding more liquid and stirring mixture until rice is al dente (gives slightly when biting but almost cooked through) and creamy. This takes about 20 minutes or so.

Helpful Hint: I stir about every minute so grab a book and the glass of chilled wine and hunker down. If you walk way and do not stir properly, you will not be happy with the results and may burn your rice. Believe me, the results are worth the effort here.

After rice has reached the perfect consistency, remove from heat and add cheese, butter and salt (check for this as the cheese, butter and stock all add salt so it may not be necessary) and fresh black pepper to taste.

There, your Risotto is done and is the perfect dish to serve as you would pasta or potatoes. I sometimes add baby bello mushrooms to this dish but it will change the color and flavor to create a delicious but less delicate side.

E squisito!

I hope you enjoy this as it has become a family favorite!

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One Response to Risotto Milanese… ala Christi

  1. christiborden says:

    I forgot to add that you need additional cheese to sprinkle on top. In fact, it is hard to add too much, in my very humble cheese-loving opinion.

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