Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese

“Risotto alla milanese”, is a classic Italian rice dish originating in the city of Milan.

It is known for its rich saffron-infused flavor and creamy texture. The dish is traditionally made with Carnaroli rice, which is a grain variety of rice that becomes creamy when cooked due to its high starch content.

The key ingredient that gives Risotto alla Milanese its distinct flavor and vibrant yellow color is saffron.

 Saffron is a spice derived from the stigma of the Crocus sativus flower and is one of the most expensive spices in the world due to the laborious harvesting process.

The saffron threads are immersed in hot liquid, usually broth, to release their color and flavor, which are then incorporated into the risotto during the cooking process.

How to Make Risotto alla Milanese:


1 cup Carnaroli rice

4 cups meat or vegetable broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

A pinch of saffron threads

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


1.      Heat the meat or vegetable broth in a separate pot and keep it warm over low heat. Salt slightly.

2.      In a large pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and brown until translucent.

3.      Add the rice to the pan and toast it for a couple of minutes until the grains are translucent.

4.      Pour in the white wine and cook until it is largely absorbed by the rice.

5.      In a small bowl, dissolve the saffron threads in a few tablespoons of hot broth. Add this saffron broth to the rice and mix.

6.      Start adding the hot broth to the rice, one ladle at a time. Stir frequently and allow the liquid to be absorbed before adding more broth. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and cooked to the desired level of tenderness. This usually takes about 18-20 minutes.

7.      Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8.      Let the risotto rest for a minute or two before serving. This helps the flavors blend together.

Serve the Risotto alla milanese hot, garnished with additional grated Parmesan if desired.

Milanese risotto is often served with Ossobuco, a classic dish of Lombard and Italian cuisine

How to accompany Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese with Ossobuco is a classic dish of Lombard and Italian cuisine. This combination sees the combination of the rich and creamy Milanese risotto with ossobuco, a dish based on veal stew.

Here’s how to prepare Risotto alla Milanese with Ossobuco:

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4 slices of veal ossobuco

Flour for flouring

Salt and ground black pepper

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup meat or vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

Grated rind of 1 lemon (optional)

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


1.      Lightly flour the ossobuco slices, then salt and pepper both sides.

2.      In a heavy pot, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ossobuco slices and brown them on both sides until golden brown. Remove them from the pot and set aside.

3.      In the same pot, add a little oil if necessary and add the chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft and slightly browned.

4.      Add the white wine and let it evaporate for a few minutes.

5.      Put the ossobuco slices back in the pot. Add the meat or vegetable broth until the meat slices are covered. If necessary, add a little extra water.

6.      Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to a minimum. Let the ossobuco simmer for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until the meat becomes tender and easily detaches from the bone.

7.      If desired, add the grated lemon zest in the last minutes of cooking to add a touch of freshness.

8.      When the ossobuco is cooked, adjust the flavor with salt and pepper.

While the ossobuco is cooking, you can prepare the Risotto alla Milanese following the recipe mentioned earlier in our conversation.

To serve, put a portion of Risotto alla Milanese in each dish and place a slice of ossobuco on top, pouring a little of the rich sauce over the meat. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and, if desired, with a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

This dish will bring to the table an explosion of Italian flavors and a combination of deliciously contrasting textures.

Wine to accompany Risotto alla Milanese and ossobuco

The pairing of wine to accompany a dish such as Risotto alla Milanese and Ossobuco requires a careful choice to balance the rich and complex flavors of both dishes. Here are some wine options that might harmonize well with this combination:

Barolo: Barolo is a robust and structured red wine from the Piedmont region, Italy. It has important tannins and an aromatic profile that can support the richness of Ossobuco and the creaminess of Risotto alla Milanese.

Barbaresco: Similar to Barolo but often a bit more accessible, Barbaresco is another excellent choice. It has a good acidity and tannins that go well with the dish.

Chianti Classico: This Tuscan red wine has a good acidity and a fruity flavor that can harmonize with the flavors of Ossobuco and counteract the creaminess of the risotto.

Nebbiolo d’Alba: If you want a more accessible Nebbiolo wine than Barolo or Barbaresco, Nebbiolo d’Alba can be a good option. It has a medium structure and can balance the plate without overpowering it.

Aged Chardonnay: If you prefer white wine, an aged Chardonnay with body and complexity could go well with risotto. Make sure it has a good structure to support the Ossobuco.

Tuscan Red: A Tuscan red wine such as Brunello di Montalcino or Super Tuscan can be an interesting choice. They usually have a fruity, spicy profile that fits well with both dishes.

Ultimately, the choice of wine depends on your personal tastes. Look for a wine that offers a good balance between acidity, texture and flavor, so you can fully enjoy both dishes.

Where to eat a traditional ossobuco risotto in Milan

In Milan, you can find numerous restaurants that offer the traditional Risotto all’Ossobuco, since this dish is a specialty of Milanese cuisine. Here are some restaurant options where you might enjoy an authentic Risotto all’Ossobuco in Milan:

Trattoria della Pesa: This historic restaurant is famous for its ossobuco and Milanese risotto. It is a traditional and authentic place where you can experience classic Milanese cuisine.

Ristorante da Oscar il Cicheto: This restaurant offers a wide selection of traditional Milanese dishes, including risotto all’ossobuco. It is a popular option to enjoy local cuisine.

Ristorante Savini: Located in the heart of Milan, Ristorante Savini offers a variety of traditional dishes, including risotto with ossobuco. It is known for its elegance and refined service.

Ratanà: A modern restaurant that offers a contemporary reinterpretation of Lombard cuisine, including risotto with ossobuco. Here you can experience a more creative version of the traditional dish.

Cracco Restaurant: One of Milan’s high-class restaurants, led by chef Carlo Cracco. Here you could find a refined version of the ossobuco risotto, with a touch of innovation.

Osteria del Binari: This restaurant is located inside a former railway depot and offers traditional dishes, including a good version of risotto all’ossobuco.

Al Garghet: A cozy and characteristic restaurant serving authentic Milanese cuisine, including risotto all’ossobuco. It is a place appreciated by the locals.

Please note that the availability of dishes may vary depending on the seasonal menu of the restaurant. Before traveling to one of these places, it may be helpful to take a look at online reviews or make a reservation, especially if you have specific preferences for your dining experience.

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