One of the most typical food in northern Italy is Risotto: that thick amass of rice and condiment that looks so sticky and is yet so perfectly al dente. If you haven’t tried it in our Milan food tour, you definitely should: the Risotto alla Milanese is one thing you sure cannot miss. And with us you have the chance to taste it in a really interesting version, that mixes italian flavours and tradition, from North to South, from Milan to Palermo… any clue? Book and behold our delicious arancino di risotto!
Infact, there are many ways to prepare Risotto, from the gourmet like the one before to the basic-simple-and traditional, and lots of sauces too! The most famous in Venezia is the one with Radicchio, in Tuscany there’s the one with asparagus and sausage, both in the north and center there’s the mushroom one… but the real icon is this golden and savory plate, the one and only Risotto alla Milanese.
Making risotto is not as simple as it looks: the rice should not overcook, but it should as well look “melted” with all the other ingredients. It’s not like a friend of mine used to prepare it – she cooked the rice and melted some cheese on it with some zucchini. That’s not a risotto, everybody!
It requires patience and attention. If you are willing to take your time with it, risotto will reward you. So, let’s try!
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
100 grams of unsalted butter
400 grams of arborio, vialone nano, or carnaroli rice, or other medium- or short-grain Italian rice
half a liter of dry white wine
1,5 lt hot homemade stewing steak broth or low-salt canned chicken broth; more as needed
30 grams (one teaspoon) of dried saffron
100 grams of finely grated parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a heavy-based saucepan (there should be a lot of room after you poured all the rice), on a medium-low fire cook the onion with half of the butter until it’s translucent and fragrant.
Stir in the rice and cook it over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and let it evaporate almost entirely, then add 2 cups of broth, then the saffron, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid the rice sticks at the bottom. Enhance the heat until the mixture starts to simmer, then set the flame in order to maintain the simmer.
Keep cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every minute or two. You don’t actually have to stir constantly, even if every italian mother would tell you so.
Add another cup of broth and keep cooking, stirring, and adding broth until the rice is al dente but not raw or grainy in the middle. How to determine that? There’s only one way – you have to try it!
When the rice is ready, you can add the cheese, directly in the saucepan, and keep stirring. Add as much broth as you need to obtain the consistency you like. Turn the heat off, stir in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm – even if it’s amazing also when it’s tepid… or even the day after!
Just one tip: do not re-heat it unless you want something mushy! Invite a lot of people over if you made too much 🙂