…One day, after many years of teasing, the young man decided to play a trick on his master, whose daughter was to be married. He bribed the cook and sprinkled a little yellow powder in the risotto for the wedding dinner. Imagine the amazement of the diners at the table when a pyramid of yellow risotto was served! Some took courage and tasted, and then another, and another, and in the blink of an eye the huge mountain of yellow rice disappeared: the “Risotto alla Milanese” was born.
Risotto Is a Cooking Method
I was going to write an ode to risotto when found a perfect description (see Basic Preparation section). Master the basics, and you will never need a recipe for any variation of risotto. There are three key points you need to know.
1. What Makes the Best Texture
Choose the right short-grain rice. The most balanced quality/price choice is Arborio rice. Choose Carnaroli rice for fancy preparations. With the right rice, constant gentle stirring is the second step. It creates a smooth creamy-textured rice sauce for al dente rice grains.
2. What Makes the Best Flavor
Fat, wine, and stock create the flavor of risotto. My favorite fats for risotto are duck fat, bone marrow, and French butter. Match the liquid with the main flavor. Use seafood stocks for seafood risottos, chicken stock — for poultry risottos, etc. The more flavorful your stock is, the better is the result because that’s what rice grains absorb.
3. How to Vary Risotto
It takes 20 minutes to cook risotto. Consider it when adding the ingredient that you will use to name your risotto — mushrooms, vegetables, seafood, etc. The moment to add it to the rice depends on for how long it takes to cook it. In some cases, you need to add it to soffritto, in others — right before mantecatura.
Risotto alla Milanese | Bone Marrow and Saffron Risotto
Course: Main Dish
Keyword: beef, bone marrow, recipe, rice, risotto, saffron
1/2lbmarrow bonesbeef or veal
1 1/2quartbeef stockor chicken stock
2 tbsponionor leeks, finely diced
1tspkosher saltadjust to taste
1/2tspblack pepperfreshly ground, adjust to taste
3tbspparsleyfresh, finely chopped
1clovegarlicfresh, finely chopped
1scallionsfresh, finely chopped
Arrange marrow bones on the bottom of cold saute pan and place it on low-medium heat to slowly render fat. It'll take 25-30 minutes. Turm bones upside down after the first 15 minutes.
When bone marrow is cooked, remove bones and reserve (they can be served as an appetizer or with risotto). There should be about 2 tbsp fat rendered. If needed, scrape bone marrow from one or two bones to render more on low heat. Remove most of the cooked marrow solids (not removed yet on the picture).
Finely dice onions. Measure other ingredients. Bring the stock to boiling. In the same pan, saute onions in marrow fat on medium heat, season with salt and pepper.
Add rice to the onions and cook briefly until rice grains are semi-transparent and hot to the touch. Do not let it caramelize. Add white wine, stir, and let the wine to evaporate.
Add the first portion (~2-3 cups) of simmering stock to cover the rice. Sprinkle with saffron. Set the timer for 20 minutes.
Cook, stirring over high heat until stock is partially absorbed, partially evaporated. Stir constantly and gently.
Repeat 2-3 more times with the rest of the stock. Stir constantly and gently.
Continue till the end of 20 minutes period. Turn off the heat. Adjust the taste. See the picture for how much liquid should be in the pan before turning off the heat.
Add butter and parmesan, stir, cover with a lid and let your risotto set for about 3-5 minutes before serving. It will absorb most of the liquid left after cooking. Serve with either cooked marrow bones or Ossobucco. Gremolada is also recommended.
To make the gremolata while risotto is resting, combine all ingredients right before serving.