Risotto Time

Risotto with saffronI’m talking to you very openly: I’m not a good chef at all. But… I am a very good risotto-maker, but it’s the only dish that seems to be impossible to burn!

Now, I wanna let you know HOW I became the best risotto chef of Milan, just describing you my two own specialties!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (600g) short grained rice, e.g. Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
  • 1 1/2 quarts (1.5 l) good meat broth, boiling hot
  • 2/3 cup (120 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 ounces (70 g) beef marrow (get this from your butcher, or an oriental market), minced
  • A small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry white (not oaky) wine, warmed if possible
  • A packet of saffron pistils (about 0.1 g — powdered will do, but pistils are much better)
  • 2 1/3 cups (120 g) grated Parmigiano (half this if you are using the risotto as a bed for ossibuchi)
  • 6 sheets real gold leaf (quite optional, as garnish for a truly extravagant meal) – another option for garnishing is 6 chives

Preparation:

Place the saffron pistils in a bowl to steep with some of the meat broth.

In a casserole, simmer the finely sliced onion and the beef marrow in half the butter over an extremely low flame for about 10 minutes; the onion should become translucent but not brown. Remove the onion and marrow with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

Sauté the rice over a moderate flame for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn. About a minute before the rice is done, return the onion mixture to the pot. Stir in the warmed wine, and cook, stirring, until it has completely evaporated. Then stir in a first ladle of the hot broth, and once most has been absorbed, another, stirring and adding liquid until the rice is almost at the al dente stage.

Stir in the saffron pistils, the remainder of the butter, half the cheese, turn of the flame, and let the risotto sit covered for a minute. Then serve it, either as a bed for ossibuchi alla milanese or as a first course, with the remainder of the cheese on the side. If you are serving the risotto with the gold leaf, divvy it into individual portions in the kitchen and carefully lay a sheet of gold over each. Or, you could go with a chive, as is shown here.

Note: When you add the wine, it is very important that it be warm, because the addition of cold liquid will shock the rice and make it flake.

Risotto al salto

It’s hard to believe one could ever have leftover risotto alla milanese. However, stranger things have happened, and this is a traditional way of reworking it. The term, al salto, means toasted; Alessandro Molinari Pradelli says “the tossing is best left to expert cooks who know how to handle a skillet.” The less expert may want to cover the skillet with a lip-free lid, flip everything, and then slide the rice back into the skillet to brown the other side. Dont worry if you will scatter rice all over the stove..just normal procedure!

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Leftover Risotto alla Milanese
  • Unsalted Butter

Preparation:

This said, to make risotto al salto you will need leftover risotto alla milanese, unsalted butter, and a broad skillet. Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of the skillet and add the rice, spreading it over the skillet to form a flat cake. Cook until the bottom of the cake is gilded, then cover the pan with a lid that doesn’t have a lip. Flip pan and lid, so the risotto comes to rest on the lid, return the pan to the burner, and carefully slide the risotto from the lid back into the pan to sauté the other side as well. If the rice has absorbed all the butter, you may want to add a little more butter to the pan before you return the rice to it. In any case, the rise is done as soon as it has gilded on the other side too.

Serve hot, with a lively white, for example a Bianco di Lugana, or a zesty red, for example a Valpolicella Classico.

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