risotto milanese


I just made such an incredibly good ossobuco, with risotto alla milanese, and basically, my life is over, and I’m going to cry, because I have ruined my appetite for anything else, ever.

Marrow rich slow-cooked tender veal shanks in well-balanced braising juices. And a risotto I could not take a single mouthful of without genuinely groaning and starting to make small sobbing noises — silky and creamy but still with bite to the cores of each grain of rice, with the saffron prepared Persian style: ground with a little sugar and then brewed with boiling water, like a strong saffron tea, so as to extract maximum colour without overpowering the flavours.

Seriously. I’m gonna fucking die. I’m beyond words, with the exception of these one-hundred-and-forty-two. This has killed me. If you want me, I am dead.

risotto: milanese style.

Waaaaaay back in 2004, I was a junior in college going into my spring semester. I decided to study abroad in Florence, probably one of the best decisions I ever made. I met two of my favorite ladies, who are still two of my favorite ladies 8 years later. I had more adventures than I could list, and the best food of my life. It’s the time in my life that inspired me to want to learn more about food and cooking.

One of the first trips we took in Italy was to Milan. We were young and inexperienced travelers, and decided to just “wing it”, and go to Milan without any sort of plan. It made for some really funny stories, mainly about getting trapped in the world’s tiniest, most rickety elevator.

Cait and I, finally arriving at an acceptable hotel.

One of the first sights we saw in Milan.

My favorite thing about Milan was the risotto. They make it with saffron, and usually it had some veggies and shrimp in it. It remains my favorite risotto of all time, but I hadn’t tried to make it until recently. It was very, very worth the price of the saffron.

If you love risotto (and who doesn’t??) I would definitely recommend trying this recipe!

Saffron Risotto (Risotto Milanese)

makes 4 servings


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock, hot
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ lb of cooked shrimp, thawed if they were frozen (optional)


In a 12 to 14-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the zucchini. Meanwhile add the saffron to the stock, stirring to infuse. Once the onions are translucent and zucchini has cooked for a few minutes, add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the wine to the toasting rice, and then add a 4 to 6-ounce ladle of the saffron-infused stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed. Add in the shrimp, and cook a couple minutes until warm. Portion risotto into 4 warmed serving plates, serving with extra cheese.

Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me! Now go eat some risotto. :)