A wonderful fusion of two of Lombardy’s savory traditional dishes, Risotto alla milanese con ossobuchi is something your palate should definitely try. After all, nothing says Milanese soul food like this hearty plate of saffron-tinged risotto topped with ossobuchi, or cross-cut veal shanks. One of the key ingredients is, of course, a flavor-absorbing rice called carnaroli, which we recently featured in the Piedmont Nonna Box.
When you say risotto dish, what would probably pop in your head Italian grains, specifically Carnaroli or Arborio rice. That’s quite understandable. However, with Risotto alla milanese, the highlight of the recipe is not actually the rice, but the spice saffron.
Now, what is saffron exactly? For those of you who don’t know, it is the aromatic dried stigmas of the flower called saffron crocus. The plant itself is quite difficult to cultivate and harvest because it’s super delicate. What’s more is that each saffron flower only has three tiny stigmas.
This means you’d need to harvest a lot of flowers for even a gram of the dried spice. So it’s no wonder that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.
Thankfully, for this recipe, and most other recipes, you only need a pinch. With just a teeny tiny dash, you can have a plate of yellow savory risotto that’s a perfect pair primo or companion to meat dishes such as Ossobuco.
One of the most savory traditional meat dishes from the Lombardy region, Ossobuco is made with cross-cut veal shanks, white wine, broth, and vegetables, especially tomatoes.
In the old days, however, instead of tomatoes, it was seasoned with bay leaves, cinnamon, and gremolata. Gremolata is a mixture of chopped lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. This delicious dish is best served with mashed potatoes or polenta (or pasta?).
However, if you want a much heartier meal, you can pair it with another delicious Milanese dish. We’re talking of Risotto alla Milanese, of course.
Now, for this recipe, you’ll essentially be cooking two dishes so you probably think it’s a bit tedious. But trust us when we say, the end result is worth all that work. And your family and friends who taste it would probably agree, too!
Other risotto recipes: