Italian comfort food: a dish of saffron-scented risotto. This is MotH’s specialty because he is the risotto king in our kitchen. Being from Milan’s suburbs puts the Man of the House in front of the risotto pot and it’s nice to have someone else do the cooking once in a while. There is no “who cooks best” between us, but rather, who is more qualified to cook a certain dish. This risotto is just one of those foods.
Traditionally, butter is used to prepare this but it’s even better with beef marrow (midollo). These soup bones (see that beautiful marrow in the middle?) were such a steal that I couldn’t pass them up. The rich marrow elevates the final result to a sublime meal.
Risotto alla milanese x due (for two)
2¾ to 3 cups well-flavored beef or chicken stock
1 cup (200 grams) risotto rice, we use carnaroli
1/3 cup finely chopped white onions
1 oz. beef marrow scooped out from soup bones
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 packet powdered saffron
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup grated parmigiano
Place the stock over a low flame and keep hot. Over medium heat, saute the chopped onions and marrow in butter until fragrant and soft but not browned. Add the rice and stir until coated with the fat. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring, on a low simmer until absorbed. Add more the stock, one ladleful at a time, making sure that the liquid is absorbed before adding more – you may not need all of the stock. At about 15 minutes, check for doneness by taking a bite test. It takes about 18-20 minutes total cooking time but this can vary depending on the rice and if your stock was kept hot enough (cold stock lowers the cooking heat). If the grains are still raw, add a little more stock as necessary and cook to a creamy consistency.
Add in the saffron powder just before the rice is almost done and stir to combine well. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of butter and the parmigiano. Stir to blend and portion onto individual plates. Serve hot.