Let's re-discover some of Milan's most alluring attractions - from food, fashion to literature

During these times, we think it is important to remember and re-discover some of the alluring attractions of Milan and its region. From the delicious cuisine, to fashion and design.

Let's start with the famous Risotto alla Milanese. Did you know who invented this exquisite dish? Have you ever tried to cook it at home? We'll provide you with the authentic recipe.

Risotto alla Milanese

Tasty, creamy and dramatically festive. The Milanese risotto, a great classic of Milanese and Lombard cuisine, is today a dish prepared throughout Italy and highly appreciated globally. It is a symbol of Milanese culinary tradition.

The history of the origin of Risotto alla Milanese is attested by a document found at the Trivulziana library. According to the manuscript, the Milanese dish was born in 1574, during the wedding of the daughter of Mastro Valerio di Fiandra, Flemish painter who at the time worked on the windows of the Cathedral of Milan. According to sources, Mastro Valerio had an assistant called Zafferano, who used to mix a little of this spice with his colors, so as to make them more lively. During the wedding of Valerio's daughter, Zafferano's enthusiasm passed from the palette to the table: the assistant, perhaps as a joke, agreed with the cook to add some saffron to the risotto that, at the time, was served with only butter. The reaction of the guests was surprising: saffron, in addition to adding an exquisite flavor to the dish, made it the same color as gold, a symbol of wealth and prosperity! From that day, the yellow risotto prepared in Milan became one of the trendiest dishes of the period, traveling from Italy all over the world!

The actual recipes for "Milanese risotto" were found from the 1800's. In The cook from Macerata, Antonio Nebbia's 1779 recipe book, it speaks about of rice, lightly fried with a little butter and drizzled with broth. Exactly in 1809, in The modern cook  by L.O.G. (the author remains anonymous) it documents the preparation of rice fried in butter, with the addition of braised meat, marrow and onion, moistened with hot broth and with a lot of saffron. In 1829, The new Milanese economic cook by the Milanese Felice Luraschi who told us of a procedure where rice, complete with fat, ox marrow, nutmeg and broth, is expected to be flavored with grated cheese. The wine ingredient appeared on the other hand in the early twentieth century. Pellegrino Artusi speaks to us about it, alongside the traditional Milanese risotto recipe, he mentions a second version that involves the use of white wine to decrease the greasiness of the marrow and ox fat.

Where to eat some of the best Risotto alla Milanese?

Among the most successful interpretations, the creation by the famous Gualtiero Marchesi, author of the "risotto with gold and saffron" needs to be mentioned. An elegant version of the Milanese risotto prepared with sour butter and embellished with a square of edible gold leaf. 

At Trattoria Masuelli, you have to try the Saffron risotto with Ossobuco, prepared here since 1921. The Masuelli is more than a historical address where a lost Milanese style can be rediscovered. A demonstration of strong flavors, accompanied by excellent "Milanese wine". All  made almost dreamlike by the kind and knowledgeable service of the two owners.

One of the best places for the Milanese Risotti is the Michelin-starred Ristorante Berton. The Milanese risotto with ragù ngoppa by Andrea Berton, is sensationally cooked and presented.

"D’O" in Cornaredo, just outside Milan, owned and created by chef  Davide Oldani, is also the creator of Cucina POP. He opened his restaurant D'O, in 2003, in his hometown of Cornaredo, near Milan. His Risotto alla Milanese is a slightly modified version because the saffron is applied later, on a white risotto base. It matters little, as this approach makes it even better. One year after opening, the world's most authoritative food guides counted him amongst the greatest chefs of contemporary Italian cuisine.

The competence and creativity of chef Claudio Sadler allows us to reinvent the traditions of classic Italian regional cuisine with a personal and innovative style. 1 Michelin star. His Risotto alla Milanese is a bit differently prepared, as the Risotto is fried in the pan and turned like an omelette - "saltato",  creamy with a nice crust. Delicious!

Recipe - Risotto alla Milanese


320 g of rice; 1 liter of meat broth; 100 ml of white wine; 30 g of ox marrow; 60 gr of butter; 16 saffron pistils (or if you just can't help it, 1 sachet in powder); ½ onion; 50 gr of grated Parmesan cheese; salt.


The authentic recipe for Risotto alla Milanese uses saffron, that is not sold in powder but in whole pistils. Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 15 Minutes Rest Time: 120 Min; serves 4 portions. Put the saffron pistils in a coffee cup with hot water and leave them to infuse for at least 2 hours. In a saucepan with high sides, put 30 g of butter and fry the finely chopped onion and marrow in it. Add the rice and toast it until the rice becomes glossy. At this point, pour in the white wine and let the the alcoholic part evaporate over high heat. Salt the rice. Add the hot broth, until the rice is covered. Stir several times during cooking and check that the rice never remains uncovered from the broth, always topping up when it evaporates. A few minutes before the rice is cooked, add the saffron infused water (without the pistils) or the sachet dissolved in a finger of water. When cooked, stir out of the heat with the parmesan and the rest of the butter. Serve the Milanese risotto all'onda. Thanks to Ricettadellanonna.net


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