Sunday, April 26, 2009

Risotto alla milanese

Risotto alla milanese

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 right behind the apron, and what's more to say except that it's nice to have someone else do the cooking...sometimes. There is no "who cooks best" between us, but rather a 'who is more qualified to cook a certain dish'. This risotto is just one of those foods.

Now normally when he cooks this milan-style risotto, it's without the traditional beef marrow or midollo (mee-DOH-loh). Labeled as soup bones instead of marrow, the small cuts pictured below were such a steal at .54 euro cents that I couldn't pass them up. I figured that out of the 8 ounces in total weight, a fair amount of fatty globule yumminess could be scraped from the bones. Yep this is a high-cal dish. An online italian calorie chart indicated that there are 25 calories in 3 grams of marrow. We scooped out 26 grams (almost an ounce/216 calories).


MotH's style of cooking risotto is very casual, which means the only thing he measures is the rice. His demeanor and pace makes the whole process look like creating art — such a huge contrast to my go get'um adventurous style. On this occasion I did a generous ingredient prep and estimated the amounts he used by what was left over. Making any type of risotto becomes easy once you get the "feel" of it, and by that I mean the creamy, sumptuous flow at the final stage. One observance I noticed is that MotH (and also his mom) begins with a stock that is already well-flavored/salted. He does not adjust for taste at the end. As long as you've got quality rice and a decent stock, you're on your way to risotto greatness.

Risotto alla milanese x due (for two)
2¾ cups well-flavored beef or chicken stock or broth
1 cup (200 grams) risotto rice, we use carnaroli
1/3 cup finely chopped white onions
1 oz. beef marrow
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 packet powdered saffron
1/3 cup grated parmigiano

Place the stock over a low flame and keep hot. Over medium heat, saute the onions and marrow in a tablespoon or two of butter until fragrant and soft. Do not allow the onions to brown. Add the rice; stir until thoroughly coated with the fat. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring, on a low simmer until absorbed. Now add the stock, one ladleful at a time, making sure that the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle. Continue stirring frequently, but do not add 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 for us but this can vary depending on rice and if your stock was kept hot enough (cold stock is a no-no!). If the grains are still too firm, add a little more stock (an extra 1/4 cup is included in the amount given), keeping in mind that the final consistency should not be soupy, but just a little bit liquid and binding.

Add in the saffron powder just before the rice is almost done; stir to combine well. When the risotto's time is up, turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of butter and the cheese. Stir until incorporated and portion onto individual plates. Serve hot.

Risotto triptych


Blogger K and S said...

that looks so~o good! can't wait to hear about your adventures :)

1:02 PM, April 26, 2009  
Blogger Ciao Chow Linda said...

Your risotto alla milanese looks perfect. It's one of my favorites, but I make it without the marrow.

1:07 PM, April 26, 2009  
Anonymous zerrin said...

Rowena, I should admit that I've heard the name "risotto" before, but have no idea what it is as it is out of our culture. But this one sounds fantastic! We cook rice with meat or chicken, but without cheese or safran. I'm really curious about this risotto. Should the cheese be a specail one or any kind works? I don't know if I can find the cheese you mentioned in this recipe, I couldn't find its Turkish meaning. I'm now stumbling this tasty recipe.

1:52 PM, April 26, 2009  
Blogger Frizzy said...

OH MY GOODNESS HAVE YOU EVER MADE MY MOUTH WATER! I am going to have to go back through your posts and take notes on all the foods I have drooled over this past year and eat them all while back in Europe. COME TO MOMMA my little pretties!

4:40 PM, April 26, 2009  
Blogger Ann said...

wow!.. that Pic! rocks as the risotto's creamy texture.. I have to try this with veggie broth sometime!

5:50 PM, April 26, 2009  
Blogger Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Mouthwatering to say the least :-)

When are you off on your adventures? Have fun , look forward to reading all about them!

6:10 PM, April 26, 2009  
Blogger Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

I make it the cheat's way without the marrow too, but with the same type of rice which I prefer to arborio. Yours look great.

7:49 PM, April 26, 2009  
Blogger iris said...

when your mouth starts to fill with saliva, that's a good sign. man that looks ono!

12:27 AM, April 27, 2009  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, I so want some!

1:48 AM, April 27, 2009  
Blogger 2kamuela47 said...

that looks really good...can you send this over cyberspace for me???

7:37 AM, April 27, 2009  
Blogger Coconut Girl Connie said...

ohhh, yum! ono, I know Hawaiians would love this dish too, especially due to the marrow!

10:40 AM, April 27, 2009  
Blogger The Duo Dishes said...

Had this for the first time this weekend paired with osso bucco. It was delicious! The saffron in the risotto is delicious.

8:15 PM, April 27, 2009  
Blogger Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Looks great. Great pics too.

9:00 PM, April 27, 2009  
Blogger Fern Driscoll said...

I want to know what Opop said!
My husband is the everything-cook in our house, and like yours, he makes a mean risotto. It's great with osso buco, which is where I thought you were headed when I saw your meat photo. Your comments about MotH's cooking techniques raise the question of why there are so many great male chefs... is it that they are more likely to cook 'by feel?' Not that there aren't great women chefs - but there seem to be more men. hmmmmm: the sound of one woman wondering...

11:03 PM, April 28, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

Kat - glad to be back, but it's a struggle to get into the groove of blogging. The garden is overrun with weeds again :o(

Zerrin - the parmigiano cheese used in this recipe is essential for authenticity, its unique flavor contributing to the dish. Any cheese is suitable where substitutions are necessary but a hard-grating type with distinct flavor is probably best. Softer cheese would render the risotto soupy, and cheese with undistinguished flavors (like plain ricotta) would be lost in the dish.

CC Linda - for the sake of our cholesterol intake, I doubt we'll ever use midollo in making risotto again. If I see it in the store again I'll have to resist!

Frizzy - I really prefer the dishes with more vegs and less meat, but there are times when you want to eat comfort food and this is one of them. Make sure you take some food pics on your trip. :-)

Ann - veggie broth would be just fine and I wish we would use more of that than chicken or beef. Healthier eating!

12:20 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

Anne - the beauty of scheduled posting! I believe you've already given it a test -- love the convenience when I'm not physically around to click on the "Post" button.

Scintilla - we cheated all the time up until this particular post. Given the cholesterol, I know we'll be cheating again ;-)

Iris - I salivate probably way too much with all the great eats around here. It's a good thing though because saliva is supposed to be essential for helping digest food!

Welshcakes - the meals you partake in should be set as the standard for anyone visiting Italy. I'm trying to keep up with you!

Laura - I dunno...if there could be a guarantee of no third party intervention, I'd send you some asap. :-DDD

12:29 PM, May 04, 2009  
Blogger Rowena... said...

CG Connie - you know how we love that melt-in-your-mouth fat in lau lau! So ONO!! Add one or two of these to the ti leaf bundles and diners would be in heaven.

Duo Dishes - now you talking my language. Ossobuco at least once a month in our house.

Fern - opop said that it was having serious problems with stubborn billy goats wanting to cross the bridge. What is the matter with these people? opop needs to lighten up a little and seize the day!

12:35 PM, May 04, 2009  
Anonymous manju said...

Definitely will have to try this with the beef marrow... yummy! The MotH rocks!

8:31 PM, May 09, 2009  
Blogger Bella said...

Hi Rowena, I know it's been a long time since I've commented, but I've definitly been following and reading your posts! This risotto looks outstanding and I've got to try it with the bone used for flavor enhancement. I finally made risotto last month and posted it (with quattro formaggi). Let me know what you think of the recipe. . . even if you don't prepare it. I hope you stop by. Also how interesting that you love Hawaii AND Italy. I started putting some Hawaii blogs at the bottom of my blog since it is my 2nd love! Bye for now, amica! Ciao, Roz (bella)

3:39 PM, July 29, 2009  

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