Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Cook to impress: Risotto Milanese

What is gold for a foodie??
Saffron is gold for a foodie....

Saffron is a powder extracted from a flower called the Saffron Crocus. They take it from the stigmas of the plant and seen that each plant only has 3 pieces of them, it is a rarity and difficult to cultivate and therefore so expensive. It is actually the most expensive spice that exists out there, hence the fact that saffron is a foodie's gold! Thank god that although expensive, the powdery gold is also very very powerful. The powder on each stigma is strong enough to colour and flavour a liter of boiling water into deep golden yellow, so you don't need much to cook a big bowl of risotto or paella!

And here is my link to the recipe of today.... Risotto Milanese! A simple yet impressive dish that is typical for the region of Milan. It is bright yellow risotto that I thought being boring at first, but when made right, it can be quite the taste-bomb! I made this a couple of weeks ago for Chef Stefano, and it was approved... few!

Ingredients: serves 4

  • two garlic cloves peeled
  • olive oil
  • a big glass of white wine
  • 4 cups of risotto rice and one for the guest (arborio rice is the best)
  • one liter of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 envelope of saffron powder
  • 50gr parmigiano
  • fresh parsley to serve
How to make it:
Contrary to what people think, risotto is actually quite easy to make. It just takes full attention for 20-25 minutes. So get ready to cook!
Prepare the broth and once it's boiling you can start making your risotto.
Heat the olive oil in a big anti-sticky pan and add the smashed garlic cloves (don't cut them up as you want to take them out after). Once they're turning golden brown and they are releasing their divine garlicky smells in your kitchen, you take the garlic out of the pan.
Add the rice and start stirring. You want to bake the rice until the grains get slightly transparant and start releasing a creamy white tail. At this point you add the white wine.
Keep stirring until the rice has absorbed the wine and releases the creamy white tail again.
Add a soupspoon of broth, keep stirring until the rice has absorbed the broth and releases the creamy white tail again. Repeat this process for 20 minutes more or less or until the rice is cooked. Some like their risotto firm and others like it more cooked - this is totally up to you, so make sure your taste it.
When it's almost done, add the saffron to the risotto and stir - this will turn your white risotto into a beautiful golden mixture of goodness. Then to finish it off, you add the parmigiano for a cheesy taste.

Outcome: GOLD! With a sprinkle of bright green if you serve it with the fresh parsley on top like I did.

Risotto Milanese
Buon Appetito
Chef Steph


  1. I have cooked with saffron. I don't get why it's gold. Other than it turns food yellow and it costs a butt-ton for a tiny bottle. Also, what is with risotto? Why is it considered "fancy?" It's just rice.

  2. well if you use a good saffron, you do taste the least that is what I experience. And risotto is maybe just rice but it's creamier, and it does need a little bit more cooking expertise than just putting the grains in a pot of water! therefore maybe the fancyness of the dish...
    I dunno, I like it, but the world wouldn't be the world if we would all agree!

  3. I love risotto, but I get so tired of stirring it on the stove top (I know, my life is very hard.) I want a dutch oven so I can make oven risotto. And save my arm muscles for forking huge spoonfuls into my mouth.