Foolproof Risotto Milanese Recipe

Risotto alla milanese made with rice, saffron and parmesan cheese
Risotto alla milanese made with rice, saffron and parmesan cheese. Clive Streeter / Getty Images
  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 servings Foolproof Risotto

This recipe for Foolproof Risotto is from Food Network chef Anne Burrell. In Italy, this would be classified as Risotto Milanese, made with onion and saffron.

The key is to use arborio rice, a variety of short-grained rice that is starchier than others because it undergoes less milling. When cooked, this starchiness creates the creamy texture risotto is known for.

Eastern Europeans love risotto as much as the next guy. Croatians and Romanians, whose cuisine has been influenced by Mediterranean flavors, are fond of risotto, but so are Poles, Hungarians, and others. Variations include Croatian Black Risotto (crni rižot) made with squid ink, and Croatian Red Risotto (rižoto crveni) or fisherman's risotto made with shellfish and tomato juice.

Turn any risotto leftovers into rice cakes, rice balls, or rice baked in ramekins. Here are more leftover rice recipes, this time for vegetarians.


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
  • Dash kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 large pinches saffron
  • 4 cups chicken stock (kept at a simmer)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
  • Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Generously coat a large saucepan with olive oil. Add onions and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high and add rice. Cook, stirring 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Pour in enough white wine so it covers the rice. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed.

  4. Stir saffron into simmering chicken stock. Ladle some stock into the pan so it just covers the rice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until chicken stock is absorbed. Repeat this process 2 more times.

  5. When the third addition of stock has been absorbed and the rice is very creamy, taste to be sure it is tender. If it's still crunchy, add simmering water in 1/2-cup increments, stirring until rice is tender. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Add salt to taste and serve.


  • Leftover risotto isn't very tasty, but it's perfect for panko-coated fried rice cakes, panko-coated fried rice balls stuffed with a cube of cheese, or baked in a greased ramekin with grated cheese on the bottom in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • As a rule of thumb, for every 2 cups of leftover risotto, mix in 1 large egg and cook as desired. If using regular white rice that isn't creamy like risotto, use 1 large egg for every 1 cup of rice. Leftover risotto also can be used in soups or stuffed cabbage recipes.