Risotto alla Milanese is perhaps one of the simplest risottos ever. If you're intimidated by the idea of cooking risotto, I'd recommend you start with Milanese risotto. With so few ingredients and minimal steps in the recipe, it is practically idiot-proof. Using really good homemade stock providing the grounding base and saffron colouring the rice for a most delicate risotto, you can texture it with a melange of toppings. I'm partial to seared scallops, sauteed mushrooms and/or grilled prawns. For a starker contrast against the mellow risotto, pair with a rich osso bucco or pan-seared foie gras.
Ingredients (feeds 2-4 persons):
2 cups risotto rice (canaroli or arborio)
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
4 cups chicken stock, kept bubbling in a separate pot (vegetable stock if catering to vegtarians)
1 cup white wine (I used a Chardonnay here)
2 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp saffron
Salt for tasting
1) Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in pan with butter until it shimmers.
2) Add onions to sweat until transluscent. Salt lightly (this is to layer the flavours as you go instead of only at the end).
3) Add rice, coating evenly in the fat and frying until it achieves a toasty fragrance.
4) Add wine, enough to cover the surface of the rice and stir into rice until wine is almost all absorbed. Then add 1 cup stock (or enough stock to cover the rice), and stir until liquid all absorbed. Salt lightly.
5) Add saffron, and the second cup of stock, stirring all the while. Repeat 1-2 more times until the rice plumps up and achieves an al dente texture (taste a couple of grains to to be sure).
6) Fold in the Parmesan and whip it until you get a flowly, creamy consistency. If necessary, salt a little more, before serving.
7) Season with freshly milled black pepper and your topping of choice!