Soothing … Satisfying … Calming …Comforting
All this in just one dish!
Risotto is a classic dish. Its versatility allows you to dress it up with grilled vegetables or fresh herbs, or just serve it plain and simple. It is the perfect side dish in a simple supper or at a formal dinner party ….the perfect pairing partner for seafood, grilled chicken, or roasted pork tenderloin. It can also be a meal all by itself!
Risotto alla Milanese, a specialty dish from Northern Italy, is a basic risotto with the addition of aromatic saffron.
Risotto alla Milanese is the classic partner for Osso Buco, another legendary treat from Northern Italy.
There is such a stark contrast between steamed rice and risotto that it is difficult to believe that both are made from the same basic ingredient. It is the type of rice, as well as a specific cooking method that make the difference.
Tips for making great Risotto:
1. Use Carnaroli or Arborio rice …NO substitutes. Other rice kernels do not have adequate starch to create the rich, creamy texture.
2. Stock must be hot when it is added to the rice.
3. A good quality (drinking-quality) dry white wine is essential. No substitutes here, either.
4. No salt added before the end of cooking …salt toughens rice kernels (reason for using low- or no-salt stock).
5. Sauteing rice kernels until shiny and translucent is essential for the ‘risotto’ effect.
6. Risotto requires undivided attention, so standing by the stove and stirring constantly is the best way. The only other activity going on during these 20 minutes is to sip a bit of the white wine that you had to open anyways!
Risotto alla Milanese
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Number of Servings: 4-6
6-7 cups of low-salt chicken or veal stock
2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, fine dice
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) carnaroli or arborio rice
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine
2-3 pinches saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (15 mL) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. In a large pot, heat the stock almost to a boiling point; keep the stock hot throughout cooking time.
2. In another heavy saucepan or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add butter.
3. When oil and butter are hot, saute shallot for 2-3 minutes, or just until soft and fragrant. Do not brown.
4. Add rice, stirring until all rice kernels are well-coated with oil, and translucent with an obvious white ‘dot’ in the centre of each kernel. This will take 2-3 minutes.
5. Splash in the wine, and let it reduce to almost nothing (stirring constantly) – 2-3 minutes.
6. Now it is time to slowly add the hot stock. Add a ladle or two at a time, waiting until each addition of stock is absorbed by the rice prior to adding the next batch. Your spoon should leave a ‘path’ on the bottom of the pot. Stir constantly.
7. While the stock is being added, steep the saffron threads in a little dish of hot stock so that it is ready to be added at the end of cooking.
8. Check the risotto for ‘doneness’ by tasting a few kernels. It should be ‘al dente’. Remove from heat.
9. To finish, add the steeped saffron, salt & pepper to taste, butter, and grated cheese.