Italians are some of the most patient people in the world when it comes to food. Parmesan aged for 20 years… wine aged for 50… every meal is an investment, a work of art. A meal worth waiting for.
So when I say that this risotto takes at least half an hour of patience and stirring, you better believe it’s worth it.
Risotto alla Milanese is a traditional dish from Northern Italy, where my dad’s family is from. When people speak of ‘comfort food’, this is it. Thick, hearty, delicious… its ingredients are simple, but essential.
Arborio rice. Plain old rice will not do here! This short-grain rice will contribute to the saucy nature of the dish.
An onion, yellow, of course. Slightly sweet, chopped into small pieces.
Wine, a dry, crispy white like Chardonnay will do.
Chicken Stock. Homemade for best results.
And the key ingredient:
Saffron. This gorgeous red spice will turn your plain rice dish a brilliant, fragrant yellow.
Combined, those simple ingredients make one of the most comforting dishes I can think of. I can remember my grandmother making this for us. The smell will just fill your kitchen! This reminds me of loud family dinners and my trip to Italy.
The first thing you want to do is bring your broth to a simmer in a pot. Just a gentle simmer, no rolling boil necessary.
In a large sauce-pan (and I mean, large, the largest you’ve got!), add some butter let ‘er melt. Add your chopped onion. Cook on medium high until soft, stirring frequently.
Is there a better smell than frying onions? You’re about to find out!
Add your Arborio rice, and stir for about two minutes, until it’s completely coated and shiny.
You want the wine to become completely absorbed and concentrated, so continue to cook and stir until it’s gone. The heat should be at about medium-high, and all your liquids should be bubbling and boiling.
You’re going to slowly add your broth two cups at a time. The key is to get the concentration of flavours, so you’ll want to make sure the broth is almost completely gone before adding more. Stir occasionally.
Repeat the process with the next two cups.
Now stir your saffron into the stock that’s still left in the pot (about 3 cups).
Add it to the rice. Everything should turn a beautiful, golden yellow.
Keep cooking and stirring until the rice is soft, and all the liquid is absorbed. It should be a little saucy.
Serve with a little lot of parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top!
Now this is comfort food.
A giant bowl of it.
Sticks to your ribs!
I still remember my dad giving us ‘Risotto Eating Tips’. Eat it on a plate.
Spread it out thin, and eat from the edges in.
Because we were far too impatient for hot food, and it’s SO tempting to just shove this all in your face!
- 7 cups Chicken Stock (homemade is best - http://halifaxbloggers.ca/isaynomato/2015/01/07/homemade-chicken-stock/)
- 1 cup dry , white wine (Chardonnay will do)
- 1 onion , chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/8 tsp saffron (~ 1 pkg)
- parmesan cheese to taste
Simmer chicken stock in a pot
Melt butter over medium heat
Cook onions in butter, stirring frequently.
Add rice and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring until the grains glisten
Pour in the wine, and boil until absorbed, stirring occasionally.
Add 2 cups of the simmering chicken stock, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until almost all absorbed.
Add 2 more cups of chicken stock, and continue to cook and stir until almost all absorbed.
Stir saffron into remaining stock. Pour over rice and cook until absorbed.
Continue cooking and stirring until all the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is soft. (I like mine just a little saucy).
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese