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risotto milanese

 RISOTTO MILANESE traditionally is made with a specific group of rices that release their starch, this in order to achieve a creamy consistency. There are several types of Risotto rice, and the ones you will see commonly in your market or specialty store include Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo.  All are short grain rices.  Making Risotto can be a zen-like activity - standing or sitting by the stove, sauteing onions, stirring the rice slowly, adding fragrant hot broth and patiently watch the rice evolve into a creamy comforting creation. On the other hand, making risotto for a crowd can draw people into your kitchen with some helping hands, and someone to refill your wine glass with the snap of a finger.  We'll make Risotto Milanese today, utilizing saffron (of the most expensive products out there, as humans need to extract the pistils from crocuses manually), hot chicken stock (homemade is desirable, but if you buy it, go low sodium), some dry white wine, sweet onions, and italian hard cheese (I used a parmesan/pecorino blend). Topped with some fresh basil, this is a perfect dinner entree, alongside a lovely salad and your favorite glass of wine.  If you want to go vegetarian, sub in vegetable stock, and if you want to go vegan, just leave out the cheese, use veggie stock, and you should be good to go. Remember to salt LAST. Doctor's Orders!

RISOTTO MILANESE traditionally is made with a specific group of rices that release their starch, this in order to achieve a creamy consistency. There are several types of Risotto rice, and the ones you will see commonly in your market or specialty store include Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo.  All are short grain rices.  Making Risotto can be a zen-like activity - standing or sitting by the stove, sauteing onions, stirring the rice slowly, adding fragrant hot broth and patiently watch the rice evolve into a creamy comforting creation. On the other hand, making risotto for a crowd can draw people into your kitchen with some helping hands, and someone to refill your wine glass with the snap of a finger.  We'll make Risotto Milanese today, utilizing saffron (of the most expensive products out there, as humans need to extract the pistils from crocuses manually), hot chicken stock (homemade is desirable, but if you buy it, go low sodium), some dry white wine, sweet onions, and italian hard cheese (I used a parmesan/pecorino blend). Topped with some fresh basil, this is a perfect dinner entree, alongside a lovely salad and your favorite glass of wine.  If you want to go vegetarian, sub in vegetable stock, and if you want to go vegan, just leave out the cheese, use veggie stock, and you should be good to go. Remember to salt LAST. Doctor's Orders!

  WHAT YOU NEED:    -  heavy casserole or saucepan  - another saucepan (to heat the stock)  - sharp knife  - wooden spoon  - ladle

WHAT YOU NEED:

heavy casserole or saucepan

- another saucepan (to heat the stock)

- sharp knife

- wooden spoon

- ladle

  INGREDIENTS:   - 2-3 quarts chicken (or veggie) stock  - 2 cups risotto rice (I used Arborio)  - 1 cup dry white wine   - 1 large brown onion, diced  - 2 TB butter and 1 oz olive oil  - pinch saffron threads (about a tsp)  - bunch of fresh basil  - 1 cup parmesan or romano (I used 50:50)  - salt and pepper to taste

INGREDIENTS:

- 2-3 quarts chicken (or veggie) stock

- 2 cups risotto rice (I used Arborio)

- 1 cup dry white wine 

- 1 large brown onion, diced

- 2 TB butter and 1 oz olive oil

- pinch saffron threads (about a tsp)

- bunch of fresh basil

- 1 cup parmesan or romano (I used 50:50)

- salt and pepper to taste

  INSTRUCTIONS:   1. Put chicken stock in a saucepan on medium, and heat until simmering. Turn heat to low.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Put chicken stock in a saucepan on medium, and heat until simmering. Turn heat to low.

 2. Into the heavier pan, place butter and olive oil, and heat on medium-low until melted.  3. Add in the chopped onions and stir until translucent.

2. Into the heavier pan, place butter and olive oil, and heat on medium-low until melted.

3. Add in the chopped onions and stir until translucent.

 4. Add in the rice, all at once and stir until you detect a bit of toasty smell.  5. Add one cup of hot stock to the mix and stir immediately with a wooden spoon.

4. Add in the rice, all at once and stir until you detect a bit of toasty smell.

5. Add one cup of hot stock to the mix and stir immediately with a wooden spoon.

 6. Once the rice has absorbed the stock (and you'll know because you can draw a spoon across the rice and form a clear, dry path.  7. Add another cup of stock, and wait until absorbed.   8. Repeat with a third cup of stock.

6. Once the rice has absorbed the stock (and you'll know because you can draw a spoon across the rice and form a clear, dry path.

7. Add another cup of stock, and wait until absorbed. 

8. Repeat with a third cup of stock.

 9. When the stock is absorbed, now add a cup of white wine, and stir until absorbed.  At this point taste the rice. If there is any element of chewiness or crunch, you'll need more stock.  Add  in the saffron threads.  10. Continue to add stock in small increments until the rice kernels are soft and creamy. Turn off the heat and cover the pot while you prepare the basil.

9. When the stock is absorbed, now add a cup of white wine, and stir until absorbed.  At this point taste the rice. If there is any element of chewiness or crunch, you'll need more stock.  Add  in the saffron threads.

10. Continue to add stock in small increments until the rice kernels are soft and creamy. Turn off the heat and cover the pot while you prepare the basil.

 11. Stack 10-12 large basil leaves on top of each other. Roll into a cigar-like shape.

11. Stack 10-12 large basil leaves on top of each other. Roll into a cigar-like shape.

 12. With a sharp knife, slice this "cigar" into thin shards. This technique is called  CHIFFONADE.

12. With a sharp knife, slice this "cigar" into thin shards. This technique is called CHIFFONADE.

 13. Add half the basil to the rice.

13. Add half the basil to the rice.

 14. Then add the cheese, and stir until melted.

14. Then add the cheese, and stir until melted.

 15. Serve with some extra cheese and basil  chiffonade   on top.    KIDDOCJJ Tip:    Imagine the possibilities for this "blank canvas"  - shrimp, tarragon and lemon (instead of saffron)  - chicken, oregano, tomato paste, and basil  - steak, charred peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and salsa  The list goes on and on...use your imagination, and try beer or champagne/sparkling wine for flavor (or in your bellies!)  Have fun with it. It's just rice!

15. Serve with some extra cheese and basil chiffonade on top.

KIDDOCJJ Tip:

Imagine the possibilities for this "blank canvas"

- shrimp, tarragon and lemon (instead of saffron)

- chicken, oregano, tomato paste, and basil

- steak, charred peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and salsa

The list goes on and on...use your imagination, and try beer or champagne/sparkling wine for flavor (or in your bellies!)  Have fun with it. It's just rice!