Risotto alla Milanese Recipe - Saffron Risotto

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Risotto alla Milanese, also known as Milanese Risotto, is an emblematic dish from Milan, in Lombardy region of Northern Italy. Its defining feature is the use of saffron, which gives the risotto its distinctive golden hue and rich flavor. Legend has it that this dish was created in the 16th century when a master glassmaker, who used saffron to color his glass, added it to his risotto at his daughter's wedding. Today, it's a staple of Italian cuisine, renowned for its creamy texture and delectable taste.

Recipe Overview

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Servings: 4


  • 1.5 liters of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400 grams of Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 50 grams of unsalted butter
  • 60 grams of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt to taste


  1. Warm up the broth in a pot. Take a ladle of hot broth and add saffron threads to it, let it infuse while you prepare the rice.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it becomes translucent.
  3. Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir until the grains are coated in oil and slightly toasted.
  4. Pour in the wine and stir until it is fully absorbed by the rice.
  5. Begin to add the warm broth one ladle at a time, stirring continuously, and only adding more once the previous ladle has been absorbed.
  6. After about 15 minutes of adding broth and stirring, add the saffron-infused broth.
  7. Continue to add broth until the rice is cooked 'al dente', this should take about 18-20 minutes in total.
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat, add the butter and grated Parmesan cheese, and stir well until it becomes creamy.
  9. Let the risotto rest for a couple of minutes before serving.