Risotto Alla Milanese recipe is perfect for Valentine’s day.

The magical day of the year when we can show that special person in our life how much we love them.

When I first published this recipe was St Valentine’s eve. As I am a romantic, a perfect romantic dinner is always on the horizon for my family.

Therefore this Risotto Alla Milanese recipe is the perfect Italian rice that leaves you wanting more.

Before going further a little bit behind the St Valentine legend. Yes, I am a romantic but with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is only fitting to write about it.

The legend of St Valentine is full of mystery.

There are so many versions of the legend. The story  I was told as a young girl was of a young priest that served under Emperor Claudius II.

The Emperor one day decided that all single men made better soldiers than those married and with families, and as a result, he forbid all young men to get married.

However, a young priest named Valentine being appalled by this order, took it upon himself to defy Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

As soon as his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered Valentines to be sentenced to death.

Within the sadness of the story,  you can see the romantic side to keep lovers together under all circumstances.

Origins of Risotto Alla Milanese

As the name says, this rice dish originated in Milan, a beautiful city in Lombardia, Northern Italy.

Like with lots of old dishes, this dish too has a couple of different versions of its birth.

According to one legend, this dish was created around the 16th century during the construction of il Duomo.

However, back in 1929, was called Risotto Alla Milanese Giallo in reference to the saffron which is a bright yellow color.

Arborio Rice

Short grain rice, slightly oval in shape with a pearly white exterior. Also rich in starch, and amylopectin.

Because the arborio rice does not thru extensive milling like ordinary long-grain, arborio retains more of the natural starch. Excellent to make risotto.

Natural starch is released During cooking which results in firmer, creamier, and chewier rice.

Italy cultivates most of its rice in the lower Padana. A narrow strip between Lombardy and Piedmont.

You will also find rice in part of Veneto.


  • Use a risotto pan or a wide mouth pan. You want to make sure that the corners are not fully square but a bit round. This will allow you to grab the rice all the way around the bottom of the pan.
  • Have your chicken broth warm prior to adding it to the rice. This will not slow down the cooking process but cook it slowly and perfectly.
  • If you have Parmigiano Reggiano rinds use them while cooking. They will enhance the flavor.
  • Careful with the saffron as it stains. Add it to the rice at once.
  • Always use unsalted butter and taste prior to seasoning.
  • The parmesan and stock are a bit more salty than usual thus requiring tasting before seasoning it.
  • Do not cut corners with this delicious risotto alla Milanese by adding all the stock at once. It will render the rice too soggy and not cook evenly.

Iconic dish flavored with saffron and bone marrow. Loads of butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Enjoy this mouthwatering risotto alla Milanese recipe.

Risotto alla Milanese is the perfect side dish for most meats and poultry.

I do, however, like it by itself, a personal choice of course. A salad thereafter and fresh fruits make for a healthy, light dinner.

A rich body of red wine, I am a lover of Barbera or Pinot Noir, or Barolo. The richness of the rice combined with the wine, brings your palate to a new level of enjoyment.

Want to enjoy more delicious dishes?

You may want to try;

Orange Roughy with Caramelized Onion Risotto

Parmesan and Shallot Risotto – Yummy!

Gorgonzola Risotto

Roasted Tomato Risotto

Equipment and ingredients used to make this recipe

Campanni Arborio Rice, 16 oz
$9.99 ($0.05 / Ounce)
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02/18/2024 02:05 pm GMT

Risotto alla Milanese - An Italian specialty

5 from 4 votes
Risotto alla Milanese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Perfectly cooked rice with wine and saffron. Italy most sought after dish.


  • 2.5 tbsp unsalted butter 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot 1 finely sliced and diced shallot
  • 2 cups Arborio rice 2 cups Arborio rice
  • tsp saffron less than 1/8 teaspoon saffron
  • 5 cups sodium-free chicken stock 4 to 5 cups sodium-free chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  • In a risotto pan or a wide mouth pan, over medium heat melt the butter and add the shallots. Cook until the shallots are translucent. Add the Saffron and a little of the chicken broth. You will see the butter and the shallot turn light yellow/orange. Add the arborio rice and some of the broth. Stir constantly and add broth as soon as the rice starts to dry.
  • Continue stirring and adding stock until the rice is ready, 35-40 minutes. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese and the butter, mix well.


Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 4.2mg

Giangi's Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally published on February 13, 2012, updated on December 26, 2021

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