• Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Risotto Milanese


Risotto Milanese

By Andrew Zimmern

Risotto is one of the simplest things to cook, yet one of the hardest dishes to master in the kitchen. The secret is patience, adding your stock little by little as the rice absorbs the starchy liquid to create a creamy texture. Risotto shouldn’t be dense or dry, it should be served all’onda, as the Italians say. It should be fluid but not runny and spread across the plate when served, the way hot lava creeps across the land.

Watch Andrew make this recipe:

Risotto Milanese

Servings: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • A few pinches of crushed red chile flakes
  • Ground white pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2 cups light-bodied white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 pinch saffron, bloomed in 2 teaspoons hot chicken stock
  • 8 cups chicken stock, brought to a simmer
  • 1  1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 cups grated Reggiano Parmesan, plus more to pass at the table
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Place the oil in a large sauté pan with straight sides over medium heat. Add the shallots and red chile flakes, seasoning with white pepper and salt. Sauté until the shallots are glassy, about 4 minutes. Add the rice, stir and slowly cook for a couple minutes to coat the rice and warm through. Don’t toast the rice, pull up short of that.

When the rice becomes aromatic, add the white wine, and stir to ensure it absorbs evenly. Lower heat to maintain a simmer.

In a small bowl, combine the saffron with 2 teaspoons of the boiling chicken stock. Reserve.

When almost all of the wine has evaporated, add about 2 cups of the hot chicken stock. Stir frequently, making sure to maintain a light simmer. When almost all the way evaporated, stir in the saffron-infused stock. Add another couple of ladles of stock and stir. Keep adding about one cup of stock at a time, stirring frequently until the rice absorbs nearly all of the stock after each addition. After you’ve added about 6 cups of the stock, test the rice for tenderness and add additional stock and cooking time as needed.

When the sauce has tightened and the rice is tender, stir in the peas and parmesan cheese. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper as necessary. Add the butter, and stir until combined. Serve, passing more cheese at the table.

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