Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Milanese Saffron Risotto

Also known as risotto giallo (literally “yellow risotto”) or risotto alla Milanese, this very simple dish is one of the most famous symbols of Milan.

As it’s common for any risotto, Italians most often eat it as a piatto unico, the only and main course of a meal; it is not unusual, however, to serve the Milanese Saffron Risotto as a side dish accompanying some Ossobuco Alla Milanese, mushrooms, a few sausages or even prawns.

Make sure to keep your broth very warm and your butter very cold: this is the secret for a delicious, super creamy, rich risotto.

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 15-20 mins | Cooking time: 2h + 20 mins

  • Skirt steak: 250 g
  • Carnaroli or Arborio rice: 180 g
  • Beef bone marrow: 30 g
  • Parmigiano cheese, grated: 30 g
  • Butter, unsalted: 25 g
  • Saffron pistils: 0,125 g
  • White wine, dry: 70 ml
  • Celery: about 5 sprigs
  • Onions, medium-sized: 2
  • Carrots: 1
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Start by preparing the broth, which must be then kept at high temperature (close to boiling) throughout the preparation of the risotto. Wash the carrot very carefully and cut it roughly in big pieces, about two or three. Cut the celery in the same way. Peel 1 onion and cut it in half. Warm up a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and lightly brown the vegetables, along with the skirt steak. Pour in 1 liter of water by covering completely the vegetables and the meat, let it simmer on low fire for at least 2 hours. Season to taste and drain the broth to remove the vegetables and the meat.

Tip: To give your broth even more flavour, try adding to it a handful of fresh parsley and some whole black pepper grains.

Put saffron pistils in a small bowl or cup and cover them with warm broth; set them aside for about 20 minutes.

Clean the remaining onion and mince it very finely. Melt half of the butter in a large pan and brown the onion on low heat. You can already add a tablespoon of broth if the onion tends to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the beef bone marrow to the onion and stir thoroughly, then add the rice and toast it for a couple of minutes on medium heat. When the rice is toasted, add the white wine and let it simmer on high heat until it has evaporated completely. Turn the heat down and cook the rice by continuously adding just about enough warm broth to cover the rice, stirring throughout the whole process to prevent the risotto from burning. It’s very important for the broth to be hot, almost boiling, or it will prevent the rice from cooking properly by cooling it down.

Add saffron pistils to the risotto along with their broth and season to taste.

Turn off the heat and add the remaining butter, which must be very cold, and half of the grated Parmigiano.

Mix thoroughly, then cover the pan with a lid and leave it to rest for 1 or 2 mins before serving it.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  1. This risotto looks creamy and the perfect comfort meal to cozy up on the couch with! Looking forward to making this soon!

  2. Italian cuisine is second to none! I’m impressed that so much care goes into the preparation of this risotto. The flavor is incredible.

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