Saffron Risotto is a traditional Milanese dish. In fact, it’s called Risotto alla Milanese. It is a simple yet incredibly rich and creamy dish. Here is my veganized version.
My love for Risotto
It’s been about fifteen years since I started making Risotto, back in those days when I was living in Argentina. As you may know, their Cuisine was widely influenced by Italian Cuisine, given the intertwined history between the two. That same history is the one that has brought us to start this new adventure in Italy.
The first Risotto that I made and then perfectioned overtime was a Mushrooms and Caramelized Onion Risotto. Today I make it with my eyes wide shot.
Risotto is not hard to make; it requires some patience and strictly stick to the steps. Which I found very hard because I tend to mix, touch, stir, and taste everything I am cooking. Here it they is stirring your rice and adding stock little by little, nothing less, nothing more!
It’s the same reason why I stayed away from baking for a long time.
The good thing about learning how to make a risotto is that you can make a risotto out of thin air once you have got your technique right, and I am not exaggerating. You can make a risotto out of the vegetable broth and any fat such as butter or olive oil.
Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese): from Milan to the World
As famous as this Milanese risotto is in Italy, it has not made it to most America’s countries. It is relatively simple to find Risotto in any Italian restaurant, but not a Saffron one.
Until this day, I don’t know the reason why this creamy Saffron Risotto had remained a novelty for many, including me. given that it is not only delicious but due to the history we also share with Spain, saffron is widely used in Paellas.
There are many different risotto recipes with various ingredients. Still, they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, such as Carnaroli or Arborio, cooked in a standard procedure, that I will explain in the preparation.
As said before, Risotto requires constant attention. Do not pre-rinse, boil or drain the rice as doing so would remove much of the starch necessary for a creamy texture.
I will start by saying that I will not call this dish Risotto alla Milanese since Italians are particular about what can be called what. Although I am only changing two ingredients to make it vegan, I will name it Saffron Risotto, or Zafferano Risotto in Italian.
- 11 ounces Carnaroli rice or Arborio
- 1 onion Chopped
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1.5 ounces olive oil good quality Extra Virgin, butter if want to make it traditional and vegetarian
- ½ cup white wine dry
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast Cheesy kind, Grated Parmesan Cheese to make it Traditional and Vegetarian
- The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffrito of onion and half of the olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura.
- When the rice starts to get brown, add the white wine, which needs to be absorbed by the grains.
- When it has been absorbed, raise the heat to medium-high, and add boiling vegetable stock gradually in small amounts while stirring constantly. With only a tiny amount of liquid present, the constant stirring forces the grains to rub against each other and release the starch from the outside of the grains into the surrounding liquid, making it creamy.
- When the rice is half-cooked, add the saffron and stir until the rice looks evenly yellow.
- When the rice is cooked al dente, we take the pot off the heat for mantecatura. Add the remaining olive oil (or butter) and the nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese).
- Let it rest two minutes before serving.
Check out our Lemony Winter Risotto Recipe