Ever since we started planning our Salt & Wind Northern Italy trip, we've been all about cooking regional recipes in our kitchen. And when it comes to Milan, it's hard to get more classic than Risotto alla Milanese. The reason we love it is that the dish uses some of the iconic ingredients that distinguish the region from other parts of Italy — namely, rice instead of pasta, butter instead of olive oil, and Grana Padano instead of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. And, of course, we love it because it's one of those totally over-the-top dishes that's so rich (in fat and price thanks to the saffron) that it's always a showstopper.
or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
Place broth and half of the saffron in a small saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add onion, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the rice and stir to coat in the butter and oil. Add the wine and cook until alcohol smell is cooked off.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add simmer, adding the broth one ladleful at a time and stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed (it should be at a simmer the whole time). Continue adding broth until it is all absorbed and the rice is al dente (firm but not chalky) and the risotto is a porridge-like consistency, about 20 minutes.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir in the butter, half of the remaining saffron, the cheese, cover, and set aside to rest a few minutes. Stir in the cheese then taste and adjust seasoning. Divide risotto among serving bowls, top with additional cheese, top with a few of the remaining threads of saffron, and serve.
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