There is something simply delicious about Risotto Milanese. It might be the saffron infused Italian rice with an al dente texture or the aroma bellowing off the warm plate, but either way, I can’t stop thinking about it. Last September, we visited Milan for the first time and I fell in love with this dish. Normally, I am not a big rice lover, but this isn’t just any rice, it is Risotto Milanese.
Risotto Milanese is easy to prepare, if you follow a few steps. For starters, the rice must be Arborio or Carnaroli rice, found in most specialty grocery stores or online. Secondly, the broth must be hot, when you add it into the rice in 5 minute intervals. Lastly, good Parmesan cheese is required, to add at the end of cooking to insure a creamy texture and divine flavor.
I think you will fall in love with this recipe just as I have and it is so deliciously easy to prepare, that it will definitely become part of your weeknight repertoire. You can serve this as an appetizer or as an entree with a salad and of course, great wine.
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1 teaspoon saffron threads, found online or Trader Joe’s
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for the top
1 small zucchini, shaved or thinly sliced
fresh basil, optional
1. Sweat the onions and garlic in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Next, add the rice and stir to combine. Toast the rice in the onion mixture for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Heat the broth in a microwave safe measuring cup for 2 minutes. Then, add the saffron threads and 1/4 cup of broth to the rice mixture, stir to combine. Continue cooking the rice over medium heat for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
4. Repeat this step of adding 1/4 cup of broth to the rice and occasionally stirring, 6 more times over the next 30 minutes, reserving the last 1/4 cup of broth. The rice will turn a bright yellow hue.
5. Immediately, turn the heat off and stir in the Parmesan cheese and the last 1/4 cup of broth.
6. Let the risotto rest in the pan, while you heat the zucchini. In a small saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the shaved zucchini with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the zucchini for 1 minute. Flip the zucchini over and cook for another minute, if the zucchini in large, you may need to cook for an additional minute.
7. Spoon the Risotto Milanese in one large serving bowl or individual bowls or plates. Top the risotto with the warm zucchini, fresh basil and another sprinkling of Parmesan. Enjoy!