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.
Risotto Milanese is easy to prepare, especially when you follow these steps. For starters, the rice must be Arborio or Carnaroli rice, found in most specialty grocery stores or online. Secondly, the broth should be hot when you add it into the rice in 5 minute intervals. Lastly, good Parmesan cheese is required at the end of cooking to insure a creamy texture and divine flavor.
I quickly added sauteed zucchini strips to the top of this dish to increase flavor and texture — giving it a summertime vibe. Afterall, it’s the end of summer and most of us have a zucchini or two in our vegetable drawer that needs a delicious home. I recommend serving it as an appetizer or as an entree with a salad and a good glass of white or red wine.
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1 teaspoon saffron threads, found in fine grocers
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 onions and garlic in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add rice and stir to combine. Toast rice in onion mixture for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Heat broth in a microwave safe measuring cup for 2 minutes. Add saffron threads and 1/4 cup of broth to rice mixture, stir to combine. Continue cooking rice over medium heat for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
4. Repeat this step of adding 1/4 cup of broth to rice and occasionally stirring, 6 more times over next 30 minutes, reserving last 1/4 cup of broth. The rice will turn a yellow hue.
5. Turn off heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and last 1/4 cup of broth.
6. Let risotto rest in pan, while you quickly cook zucchini. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil and shaved zucchini with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook zucchini for 1 minute. Flip zucchini over and cook for another minute, if zucchini in large, you may need to cook for an additional minute.
7. Spoon risotto in one large serving bowl or individual bowls or plates. Top with warm zucchini, fresh basil and another sprinkling of Parmesan. Enjoy!