Risotto Milanese: The Recipe for the Tasty and Creamy Main Italian Dish

Total time: 10 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

Risotto Milanese is a creamy and fragrant first course, typical of the region of Lombardia, and particularly of the Milanese cuisine. The protagonist of the dish is saffron, one of kitchen's most prized and loved spices, which will give the risotto an unmistakable touch of color and an enveloping fragrance. Making it is easier than you might imagine and it is possible to follow two different procedures, depending on the type of saffron used: if it's in pistils, which are certainly more refined and of high quality, or if it's in powder, which is decidedly more practical; in the latter case, however, it is best to be careful and not use substitutes that might contain tumeric; make sure to pick the authetic spice.

Just add the powdered saffron to the risotto just before creaming, perhaps diluting it with some vegetable broth; in regards to the usage of pistils, these should be placed into warm water and left to steep for at least 6 hours. The filtered water, which will look a beautiful orange, will finally be added to the risotto.  Creaming is a very important step for the success of this recipe: the butter must be very cold and must be incorporated once the rice is cooked, with the heat off and together with the grated Parmesan. We recommend excellent quality rice, preferably Carnaroli or Vialone nano, the best type for this type of preparation.

Risotto Milanese can be considered the king of risottos, among the oldest recipes of the Italian tradition. Each family has their own recipe:  there are those who add beef or ox marrow, those who cook it only in vegetable broth for a vegetarian version, those who cook it in meath broth for a more intense flavour. Perfect for a family gathering or a dinner with friends, the risotto should be paired with a glass of red wine: it's sure to win over your guests with its rich flavor. If you like, you can also add pan fried Porcini mushrooms or crispy speck for that little kick of taste. Find out how to prepare this main dish by following the step-by-step procedure and our advice.


Arborio or Carnaroli rice
320 grams
White onion
1 or 2
Vegetable broth
1,5 liters
White wine
1 glass
Saffron pistils
2 tsp
100 grams
freshly grated Parmesan
80 grams
a pinch

How to prepare Risotto Milanese

If you're using the saffron pistils, place two teaspoons of pistils in a small glass or cup.

Pour the warm water inside the cup.

Mix using a teaspoon.

Leave it to steep for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Heat the vegetable broth.

Chop the white onion into thin pieces.

Place 60 grams of butter in a large non-stick pan.

Add the chopped onion to the pan.

Sauté over low heat until the butter has completely melted and the onion has softened.

Add the rice.

Mix with a spatula to flavor the rice with sautéed onion.

Let the rice toast always over low heat, until the grains become translucent.

Add the white wine glass and raise the heat.

Start adding the hot vegetable broth.

Stir the risotto, let the broth be absorbed by the grains of rice, then add more broth. Repeat until the rice is half cooked.

Once the saffron has steeped for at least 6 hours, the water will be orange and fragrant.

Filter the water from the pistils, using a sieve.

Cook the rice, leaving it dry, following the times indicated on the package; taste it and add a pinch of salt if necessary but keep in mind that you'll also be adding Parmesan soon.

Add the filtered saffron water.

Mix the water in until the risotto is colored with the saffron.

It's time for creaming! Remove the risotto from the heat.

Add the remaining cold butter.

Add the grated Parmesan.

Stir the Milanese Risotto to melt the grated cheese and the butter and make it creamy.

It's time to serve your Risotto Milanese.

Distribute the Milanese Risotto on individual plates, garnish with a few saffron pistils and serve immediately at the table while the risotto is still warm and creamy.

How to Store the Milanese Risotto

Milanese Risotto should be eaten as soon as it is prepared. If you have any leftovers, you can keep them in the refrigerator, in a specific airtight container, until the following day. You can make other things using the rice, or you can eat it cold or heated.

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