This Italian Milanese iconic dish of saffron risotto is the simplest yet tastiest risotto you can prepare. Make sure to use a very high quality beef stock, which makes all the difference in preparing every kind of risotto and this one in particular.
1 litre high quality beef stock
2 pinches saffron threads
1 shallot or 1 white onion, minced
50g butter, divided
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
350g rice for risotto (e.g. Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano)
240ml white wine
50g grated Parmesan cheese
salt, as needed
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Heat up the stock in a saucepan over a low heat and keep it warm. Soak saffron threads in 1 ladleful of hot water.
In a large saucepan over a medium heat cook the shallot in 25g butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until softened. Add the rice and toast for a few minutes, until the rice becomes translucent and has absorbed the oil. Turn up the heat, pour in the wine and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated and the wine is mostly absorbed by the rice.
Reduce heat to medium and begin to add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring after each addition and adding the next one only when the first one is fully absorbed. By the end, add water with saffron and make sure it is fully absorbed. The rice will take about 18 to 20 to cook fully; do not overcook, rather keep it quite creamy and "al dente".
Remove from the heat, add remaining butter and grated Parmesan, season with salt, stir gently and let stand for a few minutes. Serve straightaway.