Saffron Risotto is a traditional Milanese dish. It’s called Risotto alla Milanese. It is a simple yet incredibly rich and creamy dish. Here is my veganized version.
This Vegan version of the famous Risotto alla Milanese uses Nutritional Yeast in place of Parmesan Cheese and Olive oil in place of Butter.
The flavor is perfect!
See quantities and full instructions in the recipe card.
In a skillet, chop and stir fry the onion in olive oil on medium-low heat.
Add the rice and stir. When the rice starts to get brown, add the white wine, and let the rice absorb it.
Raise the heat to medium-high, and add boiling vegetable stock gradually in small amounts while stirring constantly.
When the rice is half-cooked, add the saffron and stir until the rice looks evenly yellow.
When the rice is cooked "al dente", add the remaining olive oil and the nutritional yeast.
Let it rest two minutes before serving.
Hint: if using saffron threads, first highly toast them on a pan and then let them rest in the water for a couple of minutes. Then you can use it to hydrate the rice.
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 over time 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 sticking to the steps. I used to find it hard because I tend to mix, add, touch, stir, and taste everything while cooking.
Here the key is to keep 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.
From Milan to the World
As famous as this Milanese risotto is in Italy, it has not made it to most of America’s countries. It is relatively simple to find Risotto in any Italian restaurant, but not this Milanese dish with Saffron.
Until this day, I don’t know the reason why this Creamy Saffron Risotto had remained a novelty for many, including me. However, given that it is delicious, 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. So, although I am only changing two ingredients to make it vegan, I will name it Saffron Risotto or Zafferano Risotto in Italian.
Check out our Lemony Winter Risotto Recipe
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Recipe: Saffron Risotto
- 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
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast Cheesy kind, Grated Parmesan Cheese to make it Traditional and Vegetarian
- Chop. Finely chop the onion and stir fry it on medium-low heat.1 onion
- Toss the rice. 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.11 ounces Carnaroli rice, 1.5 ounces olive oil
- Add wine. When the rice starts to get brown, add the white wine, which needs to be absorbed by the grains.½ cup white wine
- Raise the heat. 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.8 cups vegetable broth
- Add saffron. When the rice is half-cooked, add the saffron and stir until the rice looks evenly yellow.½ teaspoon saffron
- Mantecatura. 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).1.5 ounces olive oil, 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Rest. Let it rest two minutes before serving.
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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