Risotto Zafferano, Typical Milanese recipe


You may not have heard of it but we’re sure if you’ve seen it you wouldn’t forget it! Risotto zafferano is one of the brightest risotto dishes out there and just brings a colorful joy to any plate or table! This dish is THE dish of Milan cuisine.  Everyone who visits the Italian fashion capital of the world, can’t help themselves from stopping to get a colorful and traditional taste of what Milan really is, and more often than not it is also referred to as risotto alla milanese.

This vibrant yellow comes from the saffron spice.

This rice dish goes hand in hand with another classic Milanese dish, ossobucco (marrowbone/braised veal).  

 Risotto Zafferano

Difficulty : medium         Prep Time : 5 minutes        Cook Time : 30 minutes


1 onion

1 carrot

1 tsp. Saffron powder

1/2 glass white wine

320 grams Carnaroli rice

Vegetable broth

125 grams butter

80 grams grated Grano Padano cheese

1 bone marrow




  1.  In a frying pan on medium heat, add olive oil and diced onions and carrots as a mirepoix – soffritto –  base for our risotto.  Once the onion and carrot are cooked down add in the dry rice and let it brown – rosolare –  with the soffritto for a two to three minutes constantly stirring.
  2. Add in the glass of wine put on high heat. Cook and stir until wine has evaporated.
  3. Once wine is evaporated add in one ladle of broth and stir.  This process will be repeated until the rice is completely cooked  about 15/20minutes – one ladle at a time stirring the rice until the broth is absorbed and then add in another spoonful of broth.  Make sure the rice is evenly covered with broth at all times – the trick of risotto is that the rice cooks in the broth slowly.
  4. About half way through the cooking time of rice add in bone marrow and stir.
  5. Towards end of cooking add in the saffron powder and stir.
  6. Once rice is cooked place on a low flame stirring in butter and grated cheese.  Stir until rice is nicely mixed together with butter and cheese.
  7. Serve hot as a first course or as a side with braised veal – ossobucco (recipe to follow)

Enjoy a taste of Milan and Eat Bene!!!