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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)

Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)

25 minutes

Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)

Free

Saffron-rich risotto alla Milanese is a specialty of Milan. Medium-grain Italian rice is essential for achieving a rich, creamy consistency, as it has the ideal starch content. Arborio rice is the most common choice for risotto in the U.S., but cooks in Milan—and at Milk Street—preferred carnaroli. We found that the grains better retained their structure and resisted overcooking. With careful cooking, however, Arborio will yield delicious results. A quick five-ingredient homemade vegetable broth is the best cooking liquid for this risotto; its fresh, clean flavor won't compete with the other ingredients. Serve in warmed, shallow bowls to prevent the rice from cooling too quickly. If the flavor and aroma of saffron don't appeal to you, try one of our variations; the techniques we learned in Milan also worked well for other flavors.

3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (see recipe)
1 teaspoon saffron threads
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, divided
1 cup carnaroli or Arborio rice
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup)
Kosher salt
4 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
Ingredients
  • cups vegetable broth (see recipe)

  • 1
  • 6

    tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, divided

  • 1

    cup carnaroli or Arborio rice

  • 1

    ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup)

  • Kosher salt

  • 4
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Sides

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Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

25 minutes

Tip

Don't cook the rice to the ideal al dente texture before removing the pan from the burner. The grains will continue to cook with residual heat as the cheese and butter are stirred in.

Ingredients
  • cups vegetable broth (see recipe)

  • 1
  • 6

    tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, divided

  • 1

    cup carnaroli or Arborio rice

  • 1

    ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup)

  • Kosher salt

  • 4
Step 1 of 4

Infuse the saffron

cups vegetable broth (see recipe)
1
teaspoon saffron threads

In a small saucepan over medium, bring the broth, covered, to a simmer. Reduce to low to keep warm.


In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine ½ cup of the hot broth and the saffron. Set aside.

Step 2 of 4

Cook the rice while whisking

2
tablespoons salted butter
1
cup carnaroli or Arborio rice

In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent at the edges, 1 to 2 minutes.


Add 2½ cups of the remaining hot broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook, stirring frequently and briskly, until the grains are almost tender but still quite firm at the core (it will be quite soupy), 8 to 10 minutes; adjust the heat as needed to maintain a vigorous simmer.

Step 3 of 4

Cook the rice until nearly al dente

Add the saffron broth and cook, stirring frequently and briskly, until the rice is just shy of al dente but still soupy, 3 to 5 minutes. If the rice is thick and dry but the grains are still too firm, add the remaining hot broth in ¼-cup increments and continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is just shy of al dente.

Step 4 of 4

Stir in butter and Parmesan

1
ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup)
½
teaspoon kosher salt
4
tablespoons salted butter
4
teaspoons white balsamic vinegar

Off heat, stir in the Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 piece at a time. Taste and season with salt, then stir in the vinegar. Serve immediately.

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Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)

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