Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Ugh! How boring! 

No, no, do not say so. I know that a Risotto alla Milanese may seem a small thing in the world of foodbloging. But please be patient. Above all, this is a tribute to my mum. But also, I have often come across recipes for this classic of the Italian cuisine that gave me the shudders! Would it be because well known things are often taken for granted - a bit as it happens to long term partners??
So, here is how it gets cooked - since always - in my home.

50g butter 
1 onion, diced 
1 bay leaf
350g rice (arborio or carnaroli) 
the bone marrow from a piece of calf shin bone 
1 / 2 glass dry white wine 
1 lt beef broth 
1 packet of saffron (or a few strands)
salt and pepper 
grated Parmesan

I assume that first of all, maybe even a few days ahead,  you have cooked and enjoyed a nice bollito misto and that this included a piece of calf shin bone with its bone marrow - that kind of meat scrap which, when I ask my butcher for, his eyes shine with the joy of finding someone who still appreciates!
 the onion with the bay leave and a knob of butter (you do not need a lot of it - in deference to today's healthier food habits)Then add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper. Take note: add the bone marrow which you will have extracted from the shin to the rice and mix well - this is one of mum's secrets!
Pour in the white wine and allow to evaporate. Remove the bay leaf.
Now add the first ladle of broth into which you will have stempered the saffron - do it now,  not at the end as I have seen done because the aroma of the saffron must have the time to permeate the whole grain
Keep adding the broth a bit 'at a time stirring constantly until cooked. Remember, half way through to check the saltiness - it much depends on how salty was broth in the first place. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Take off the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan. Put the lid on the pot and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
Et voila. A true risotto alla Milanese with all the trappings. Let me know if you agree.

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