Make Anna Del Conte's risotto alla Milanese

The golden colour of this iconic dish makes it a pleasure to look at, but the real joy comes from the rich flavour, heady with aromatic saffron

Make Anna Del Conte's risotto alla Milanese; photography by Laura Edwards

Serves 4

Preparation time 5 mins

Cooking time 25 mins

When Anna del Conte talks about risotto milanese, it’s in no uncertain terms, referring to it as both "this favourite dish of mine" and "one of the pillars of Milanese cooking".

"Like all over-popular dishes, risotto alla milanese (known in its native city as risotto giallo, or yellow risotto) has been the subject of endless variations," she says. "This is my recipe, which has been in use in my family for generations, or at least for as long as my father (who would now be 113) could remember. He insisted that risotto giallo was made like this.

"If you can, use carnaroli rice. Otherwise use a good quality arborio. The better the rice, the longer it takes to cook. In Italy we cook carnaroli for 18 minutes from the time that you begin to add the stock. Arborio will take 1 or 2 minutes less."


  • 1.2 litres home-made meat stock
  • 1 shallot (or ½ small onion), very finely chopped
  • 60g beef marrow, unsmoked pancetta or fatty prosciutto, very finely chopped
  • 75g butter
  • 350g Italian risotto rice, preferably carnaroli
  • 120ml red wine
  • ⅓ tsp powdered saffron or 1 tsp saffron threads
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 60g freshly grated parmesan


  1. Bring the stock to simmering point and keep it at a very low simmer.
  2. Put the shallot, beef marrow (or substitute) and 60g of the butter in a saucepan and sauté until the shallot is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the rice into the pan and stir until well coated with fat. Pour in the wine, boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, and then pour in 200ml of the simmering stock.
  4. Cook until nearly all the stock has been absorbed and then add another 150ml of stock. The risotto should cook at a steady lively simmer. Continue adding the stock in small quantities like this, waiting for one to be nearly all absorbed before adding in the next.
  5. About half-way through the cooking add the saffron dissolved in a little hot stock. When the rice is ready – it should be soft and creamy, not mushy or runny – taste and then adjust the seasoning.
  6. Draw off the heat and add in the rest of the butter and 3 tbsp of the grated parmesan.
  7. Leave to rest for a minute or two and then give the risotto a good stir. This is what we call the mantecatura, the final touch, to make the risotto even creamier.
  8. Serve immediately, with the rest of the cheese handed separately

From Classic Food of Northern Italy by Anna Del Conte; photography by Laura Edwards. Published by Pavilion Books