Tag Archives: Risotto

Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto. Grana Cheese. Saffron.

Let’s call this a very special holy trinity.

Edouard de Pomain, a French docotor of the Pasteur Institute said of Risotto alla Milanese “The national dish of Lombardy” and claimed each grain of the rice “gilded” with gold.

This is a beef risotto, typically made with Grana cheese, rather than Parmesan, the dish will typically have beef marrow as well. If you so desire, mushrooms would also work quite well.

  • 5 cups beef consomme or broth
  • 1 oz beef marrow, chopped (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 12 oz Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio or orvieto will work nicley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 6 Tablespoons Grana Padano cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano will work, but you will end up with a saltier dish)
  • Italian Parsley, for garnish

In a medium sauce pan, heat the beef consomme to a simmer.

In a large skillet, melt the marrow with the butter. When the butter is completely liquid, add the onions, and saute until just browned (about 10-12 minutes).

Add the rice to the skillet, and pour in the wine, allowing it to evaporate while you stir it into the rice. Using a ladle, pour 1/2 cup of the consomme into the rice, stirring and allowing the liquid to evaporate. Continue this process until you have one ladle of broth left. By this time your risotto should be creamy and al dente.

As you pour in the last ladle of broth, add the saffron. Cook and stir, again allowing the liquid to evaporate as best as possible. At the very end, add the cheese and stir in thoroughly.

Place in a bowl, and serve (eating with a spoon in the traditional Milanese style)

Serves 4-6

Crawfish Risotto

crawfish risotto

This is an okay recipe. I made it last night based on a suggestion from our fearless tech diva, Tara. She thought the dish was wonderful, I thought good, but not “oh-my-god-I’m-weeping-with-pleasure” good. Perhaps my standards are a bit too high. Or perhaps I’m too self-critical. Probably both.

At any rate, the key to a good risotto is to NEVER WALK AWAY FROM IT. Let’s call this “Kate’s Law for a Good Risotto”. You laugh, but the more attention you pay to it, and the slower you add the liquid, the creamier your risotto will be. trust me on this.

The crawfish worked quite nicely, but if none are available in your area, you can use crab or even lobster. Or you can order crawfish from Seattle’s own Exotic Meat market, who deliver, but at a cost.

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (using a sweet white is redundant since crawfish meat is sweet by nature)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cup chicken stock (or fish stock, if you have it)
  • 2 cups crawfish meat
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until nearly translucent. Add rice and stir in thoroughly.

Allow the rice to cook in the oil for 30 seconds or so. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the wine. Lower the heat just a tad, and stir the rice with a heat resistant spatula into the evaporating wine. When liquid has completely evaporated, add another 1/4 cup of wine. Repeat the “stir, evaporate, add wine” steps, until you’ve used all the wine.

Once the wine is used, you will start using the chicken stock as the evaporating liquid. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Now repeat the “stir, evaporate, add wine” steps, until you’ve used all the stock, with the following two additions.

When you’ve used half of your stock, add the crawfish meat.

When you’ve used 3/4 of your stock, add your peas. Salt and pepper to taste.

This whole process of “”stir, evaporate, add liquid” should take between 35-45 minutes. If it’s quicker than that, you may have crunchy risotto, which is not a good thing. Taste test often until you get the texture you like.

Plate and top with parsley.

Serves 4

Risotto alla Finocchiona

My first “official” Tuscan dish (Actually the Fritatta con Cipolle was the first, but I didn’t note it in the post), this came out quite nice.

  • 1/2 lb baby spinach
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 Tblspoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tblspoons butter
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb finocchiona(or other Italian sausage)
  • 3 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 wine glass dry white wine
  • 2 cups of whole hazelnuts, shelled and skinned
  • 1 Tblspoon ground pepper

Place spinach in a large bowl. Cover with water and stir in salt. Remove the Spinach, and set aside the water for later. Dry the spinach with paper towels and also set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet , over medium-high heat (or stock pot, if you are lacking said skillet), melt the butter, and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, until close to translucent.

Add the finocchiona to the pot and allow to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the rice, and toast in the sausage oil for 2-3 minutes, and then add the spinach. Cook until spinach begins to wilt. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the glass of white wine. Cook until the wine evaporates. Add Pepper and stir in.

Add a ladleful of set aside water and begin to stir. The water is added 1 or 2 ladlefuls at a time while the rice cooks, and you must stir frequently to obtain the right creamy texture for this dish. Feel free to taste test in order to get correct texture. When rice becomes al dente in texture remove from heat. Plate and serve.

Serves 4-6

Sausage Mushroom Risotto


I so love it when a recipe exceeds my own expectations. I’ve been told that risottos are a bear to deal with, and run the risk of being too dry or too creamy. The trick, I have found, is to pay the risotto continual attention while pouring in the stock one ladle at a time. It’s not a difficult recipe, but certainly one that requires that you stay near the stove top throughout it’s cooking.

The result is a risotto infused with the flavors of the sausage and mushrooms, which is sort of the point. Otherwise you have a simple pilaf made with sausage, and who wants that?

As a side note, I used my brand spanking new 12″ cast iron skillet insterad of a sauce pan. It’ll probably be the only way in which I make risottos from this point on.

  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 6 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • 2 c. Arborio rice
  • 5-6 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (and if you use that Kraft abomination, you deserve what you get)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley (for garnish)

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and add 2 cups of water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to re-hydrate.

In a sauce pan, on medium heat, bring chicken stock to simmer. Once stock begins to simmer, lower heat by half. Keep stock just below a simmer at all times.

Heat 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil in cast iron skillet. Toss in onions and sauté for three to four minutes. Add celery and carrots and sauté for two more minutes and then add mushrooms. Allow to sauté for 5 mniutes.

Add the rice to the pot and sauté it with the vegetables for a minute or two.Then add a ladleful of broth, turn the heat down to a slow simmer, and begin to stir. The broth is added 1 or 2 ladlefuls at a time while the rice cooks, and you must stir frequently to obtain the right creamy texture for this dish. Feel free to taste test in order to get correct texture.

Meanwhile, fry sausage in a seperate skillet. When complete, remove from heat and set aside.

When rice becomes al dente in texture (you can sense this when the rice no longer crunches in the mouth and has developed a little bit of creaminess), remove from heat. Add sausage and parmesan cheese. Fold in until you see no more evidence of cheese. Allow rice to sit for five to ten minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, and crush ffresh parsley ontop before serving.

Serves 4-6 people.