Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese

Margaret Fulton Favourites
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

This creamy, luxurious dish, when made with good Italian risotto rice and homemade chicken stock, is food for the gods. Risotto can be as simple as rice, stock and parmesan or can be richly studded with seafood, vegetables or even bone marrow. The slow-cooking method results in a creamy texture with each grain separate and still firm to the bite. The liquid is added slowly and the rice is stirred constantly. It takes 20–25 minutes, but it is worth every minute.

Risotto should be made with arborio, carnaroli, vialone nano, roma or baldo rice, most of which are grown along the Po River Valley in Italy’s north and are available in many Italian delis or supermarkets. These rice varieties are able to absorb liquid and stand up to long, slow cooking without becoming soft and mushy.


Quantity Ingredient
6 cups * chicken stock [rid:7474]
a large pinch saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil
30g butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 1/4 cups arborio, carnaroli or vialone rice
extra butter, (optional)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer and keep hot. Add the pinch of saffron. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the onion gently until golden. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until glistening.
  2. Add a ladleful of stock, stirring constantly. When the stock has been absorbed, add another ladle, stirring, until almost all the stock is added and the rice is tender, 20–25 minutes. If necessary, add boiling water to the rice to complete cooking. At this stage remove the saucepan from the heat and without stirring add enough remaining stock to give the risotto a creamy consistency. Some cooks like to cover the saucepan with a lid and leave it to stand for 5–10 minutes before serving.
  3. Just before serving, add a nut of butter, if you like, plus the grated cheese, stirring both into the rice. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


  • Cook risotto in a heavy-based saucepan, preferably with a rounded base to prevent the rice from sticking. It needs to be big enough to accommodate the rice, which will swell to as much as three times its original size. The stock must be kept gently simmering, to prevent the cooking process slowing down. Saffron is an essential ingredient.
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