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Milan, Milan, my beautiful city. I miss it so much. The vibe, the mix of history and modernity, the amazing restaurants and bars, its people... I can't wait to go back home.

In the meantime, I bring home to Knoxville cooking the Milanese dish for definition, the Risotto.

INGREDIENTS: (2 servings)

• 200g Carnaroli rice or Arborio

• vegetable stock (1 carrot, 1 celery stick, half onion, herbs you like)

• 40g Parmigiano Reggiano

• 40g Butter

• the rest of half onion you used for broth

• half glass of good dry White Wine 

• Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• 1 saffron bag/threads


  1. Start preparing your broth about one hour before. Cut the carrot, celery and onion in big pieces or just in half and put them in a pan with the oil. Braise them for a few minutes, until they turn brownish then cover with ice (or cold water) and make it simmer for an hour, add hot water if needed

  2. Toast the rice in a hot pan. You know it’s toasted when you take some in your hand and it’s very hot and becomes whiter. Check the cooking time of your rice!

  3. Put a couple of spoons of oil into a pan, add the half onion (or less) diced, cook it till it becomes transparent

  4. Add the toasted rice

  5. Simmer with white wine till reduced

  6. Start adding a filtered ladleful of broth at the time and stir the rice. Keep on doing it

  7. 5' before the end of the rice cooking time, put the saffron in 2 tbsp of broth and add it to the rice

  8. Add salt (try it as will be not salted at all). Close to the end start tasting your risotto to check if it is ready, if not add more broth. The final texture should be of a loose risotto, a bit soupy. Don't worry as it will dry a lot when we will add the Parmigiano that absorbs a lot of the broth

  9. Once cooked add butter and shredded Parmigiano, stir it quickly and cover with a lid for 5’ (mantecatura step, very important!)

  10. Risotto has to be creamy, all’onda

Enjoy! With white wine of course :-)


First of all the choice of the rice: use Carnaroli as a first choice, the King of Italian rice. If not available, substitute it with Arborio which is easier to find in USA. Both rich in starch, Carnaroli is smaller and has a firmer texture. Starch is very important as it is responsible to give the typical creaminess to your Risotto.

Second: the choice of the pan. In Milan, I was using my grandma's copper pot which is the best. I didn't bring it over (I will at some point), here I use a large inox pan with a thick bottom for homogenous cooking.

Third: avoid premade stock (I know I used it during my IG Live class but it was really an exception due to time limitations). Make your own broth using fresh veggies and herbs or add meat if you want it richer. You can check Gingerbychoice special on that! The stock you add MUST be hot (keep it on the stove simmering the whole time) or cold broth will stop the cooking process.

Fourth: toast the rice without oil in a hot pan before starting. Do it till the grains will turn from transparent to white. This step will seal the rice grain and help it to keep its texture.

Fifth: keep stirring your risotto gently so that it won't stick to the bottom.

Mantecatura: this is the very important final step when the Risotto is cooked. This word has no translation in English, it derives from the Spanish term "Manteca", butter.  It is a specific term for Risotto, a technique to make it creamy. How? Adding cold butter and Parmigiano Reggiano away from the stove stirring the rice very fast, cover with a lid for a few minutes


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