Risotto alla Milanese

Photo: Alitalia

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Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a starter

  • 100g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 275ml white wine, at room temperature
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 300g arboria rice
  • Half teaspoon of saffron powder
  • 120g fresh Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Make the vegetable stock by putting one litre of water into a saucepan with the appropriate amount of vegetable bouillon powder and bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down and keep the stock gently boiling.
  2. Melt 80g of the butter over a low heat.
  3. Add the finely chopped onion and let it fry slowly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the rice and continue to stir until all the rice is coated in the butter.
  5. Turn up the heat and pour in the wine. Cook until it has evaporated, turn the heat back down and then add two ladles of the hot vegetable stock. Stir constantly and as soon as the stock is absorbed add another two ladles. Repeat this operation until only a few ladles of broth remain. Dissolve the saffron in the remaining broth and mix well. Pour into the rice and continue to cook until there is no liquid remaining and the rice is cooked. It should be soft on the outside with a slight 'bite' in the middle.
  6. Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Let it rest for a few seconds and then serve, decorated with either saffron threads, chives or parsley.


Risotto alla Milanese is a famous dish from Milan which was traditionally served with Ossobuco (braised veal shanks). It was originally cooked with beef bone marrow but here is a more modern version which can also be adapted for vegetarians.

Risotto alla Milanese is perfect with braised beef but equally good with any type of meat, even humble sausages. Serve with the meat and dark green vegetables such as spinach or broccoli.

As a starter, Risotto alla Milanese is a perfect accompaniment to mushrooms.

For vegetarians, replace the Parmesan cheese with either vegetarian Parmesan or a hard sheep's cheese and serve with mixed, roasted vegetables.
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