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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.
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