You will see Milan’s famous variation on traditional risotto on many of the restaurant menus in Bergamo offered as a first course.
The special ingredient is zafferano (saffron) which is added when the rice is almost cooked and makes the dish yellow in colour.
For four people you will need:
1 onion (finely chopped)
50 gr butter
125 ml dry white wine
275 gr Arborio rice
One litre of chicken stock
4 strands of saffron
50 gr parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Melt half of the butter in a saucepan and fry the chopped onion in it on a low heat until it becomes golden. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter. Pour in the wine and turn up the heat slightly.
When the wine has evaporated, start adding the stock to the rice a little at a time, gently stirring it in. While it is cooking, pound the saffron strands into a powder in a small dish or cup and pour a little of the stock over. After the rice has been cooking for about ten minutes add the saffron mixed with the stock and stir in before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
The risotto is ready to serve when the rice is ‘al dente’, no longer hard in the middle but not overcooked and too soft. Stir an in the rest of the butter and the grated parmesan and then spoon the mixture into warmed dishes.
You could serve each portion topped with a cooked asparagus spear and some shards of parmesan cheese, as in the picture.
Risotto alla Milanese is a simple, but elegant, dish.
Typically Milanese in fact.
A MAGICAL PLACE
Bergamo’s beautiful upper town, the Città Alta (pictured above), is a magical place well worth visiting. Use this website to help you plan your trip to Bergamo in Northern Italy and find your way to some of the other lovely towns and villages in Lombardia that are perhaps less well known to tourists.