Go Back
risotto zafferano

Risotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan

This recipe belongs to Nonna Marianna, my granny from Lombardia. Unfortunately, I didn’t use to spend a lot of time with her, because she lived far from my house, but she was a fantastic cook. Her dishes were full of flavors, and yes, very rich. It took some hours to digest her Saturday dinners. Her specialty? Definitely, the authentic risotto with saffron from Lombardy. Well, I know, it is not low-calorie at all! 
This is a lighter interpretation of the well-known traditional recipe. The only missing thing is the beef mallow which makes the recipe special, but I prefer not to use it. Do you fancy itt? Well, reds the recipe below! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword milanese risotto with saffron, risotto milanese, risotto with saffron
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • 2 cups  of Arborio or Carnaroli rice (180g)
  • a pinch of saffron threads (15-30g)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 glass of dry white wine
  • 4 1/2 cups of vegetable or meat broth
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano Cheese (40g)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (125g)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Steep the saffron threads in 4-5 tablespoons of hot water in order to release all of their aromatic properties for at least 10 minutes. Longer is better;
  • Bring the stock to a boil. Keeping the stock hot helps to coax the starch gently out of the grains of rice. Adding cold stock will keep the risotto from becoming creamy;
  • In a heavy pan or stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons (40g) of butter over high heat and add the thinly sliced onion;
  • Stir until softened (about 2 mins);
    butter risotto saffron
  • When the onion is tender and translucent, lower to medium heat and pour in the rice stirring to thoroughly coat until they become toasted and translucent for about 2 minutes;
    rice risotto
  • Add the white wine and stir until it evaporates;
    wine saffron risotto
  • Add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is nearly absorbed in between additions;
  • Add the water with the saffron; 
    adding saffron
  • After all the stock is added and you can see the bottom of the pot when you stir, remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the cheese;
    adding butter
  • Serve it on a cold plate.