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Recipe: Milanese Saffron Risotto


Pasta may be the national dish of Italy, but risotto is Milan’s comfort food. We borrowed this recipe from Nigella Lawson – the British queen of Italian home cooking. Serve with a rocket salad, plenty of extra Parmesan and a bottle of punchy Italian red.



Saturated fat


Preparation time

10 minutes

Cooking time

40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 50g butter, plus 15g extra
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 50g shallots, finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 125ml dry marsala wine
  • 4 tbsps grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Step 1: Heat the stock in a saucepan, add the saffron threads and put over the lowest heat just to keep it warm.

Step 2: Melt the 50g of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a wide, shallow, heavy-based saucepan over a low to medium heat, add the chopped shallots and cook for a couple of minutes or so, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until softened.

Step 3: Add the risotto rice and keep stirring for a minute or so, then turn up the heat and add the marsala wine, which will bubble up excitedly. Keep stirring until it is absorbed.

Step 4: Start ladling in the hot, golden, saffron-infused stock, allowing each ladleful to absorb as you stir before even thinking of adding the next. Stir and ladle the stock into the rice until it is cooked but still has a slight bite to it. This should take about 18 minutes, maybe a little less – by which time you should have finished all your stock. However, if you find the rice is cooked to the texture you like before the stock’s run out, don’t feel the need to use all the liquid.

Step 5: Turn off the heat, stirring still, and beat in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the grated Parmesan, then season to taste. Serve immediately, spooning the mixture into warmed bowls, with grated Parmesan.

From Kitchen: Recipes From The Heart Of The Home by Nigella Lawson (£26, Chatto & Windus). Also available as an eBook. Copyright ©Nigella Lawson 2010



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