#ForeverNigella 25: Colourful- Risotto Alla Milanese

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I love taking part in the latest #ForeverNigella blog hop.  I think this is number four of the ones I have taken part in but we are up to 25 now.  I look forward every month to see who is hosting the blog hop and doing the round up and also which is going to be the theme.  It’s always exciting to see which the monthly theme is going to be and this month’s theme of “Colourful” is no exception.

Forever Nigella is organised by Sarah of Maison Cupcake.  I always love reading Sarah’s blogposts whenever I get the chance, so do pop over and have a look at her latest posts.  This month’s Forever Nigella is hosted by Elizabeth from A Girl In Her Kitchen.  I had not come across Elizabeth and her blog before, from Tennessee but I am keen to read through her posts and pick up lots of tips and ideas.

This month’s theme of “Colourful” is a good one to choose and immediately I was thinking of all the colourful bakes in the Nigella books I have.  I thought about the bright green Grasshopper pie with it’s chocolate base but then thought I am always blogging about sweet stuff and desserts. What about some thing savoury for a change?  I suppose it’s because of my love of baking and having a sweet tooth makes me naturally look towards the dessert chapters in any recipe book.

I thought about what I could find in Nigella’s latest book “Nigellisima” which I bought when it came out last September.  There were loads of different recipes but nothing leapt out and made me think of colour in a certain way.  I always associate Nigella Lawson with Italy and then thought about my own special holiday there last summer.

It was my 40th birthday last May and for a late present my hubby took me to Italy for three days.  I’ve always wanted to go to the Italian Lakes and to Venice so my hubby booked a whistle stop tour of Lake Garda, Lake Como, the Stelvio Pass up in the Alps and Venice. It was fab and I fell in love with Italy. I had been to Rome before but nowhere else in Italy before.

St Mark's Square in Venice.
St Mark’s Square in Venice.

In the duty free shop at Bergamot Airport on our way home I got a bit carried away and bought pasta, spaghetti pasta spice, olive oil, limoncello liqueur and some risotto rice to make the wonderfully colourful risotto alla Milanese.  I wanted to bring back some Bellini but my hubby said enough was enough!

A celebratory Bellini sipped outside a cafe on the banks of Lake Como.
A celebratory Bellini sipped outside a cafe on the banks of Lake Como.

Once I got home I gave some of the goodies to my Mum but she said not to be daft and that I could keep them. I then promised her I would make the Risotto alla Milanese the next time she came to visit.  Trouble was on the subsequent visits we would either be going out or the risotto got forgotten. Luckily the rice had a long sell by date on it!

It wasn’t until I was thinking about what to make for ForeverNigella that I thought about the Risotto Alla Milanese! The risotto comes out a gorgeous yellow colour due to the saffron in it. I was keen to try it but because whenever I was out all the restaurants would only serve risotto to a minimum of two people. As my hubby isn’t that keen on rice I had to miss out. The same thing happens when we go to Spain with Paella!

Last weekend my Mum was here and I thought I’d better get that risotto made as promised.  I looked through my Nigella cookbooks and spotted a recipe from Nigella’s book “Kitchen” for Risotto alla Milanese. This is a description of this wonderful book, which I intend to try and cook more out of : here.

I took photos to show how it was done:

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The packet of Risotto alla Milanese rice which came from Bergamot airport! It just contained the rice and the saffron which was enough for four generous portions.
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Butter was melted in a pan and a small chopped onion was fried gently for about 10 minutes until soft. Nigella suggested shallots but I didn’t have any!
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The rice and saffron was tipped into the pan to be coated in the melted butter for about a minute.
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At this stage Marsala wine was meant to be added to the pan. I didn’t have any leftover from the last time I made Tiramisu so I had to use white wine instead!
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I made up a litre of hot chicken stock in a large jug and got my ladle to hand.
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Bit by bit I ladled the chicken stock into the pan and let it simmer away. When it had been absorbed by the rice, I added more, about 2 ladlefuls at a time.
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After a while I got fed up of standing over the cooker so I tipped the rest of the stock in the pan and made a cup of tea!
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A portion of Risotto alla Milanese all ready to eat. It is meant to be served with parmesan shavings on top but I hadn’t got any. I did grind some pepper on top and it tasted fab!

The Risotto was absolutely gorgeous, not only did it look lovely with it’s pretty golden yellow colour but it tasted gorgeous as well.  My son made rude comments about the colour, saying it looked like sick and he didn’t really like it.  My Mum enjoyed it but my hubby and daughter who aren’t great risotto eaters ate a little to be polite.  I will just have to hope that a local Italian restaurant will have it on the menu so I can enjoy it again!

Happy Cooking!

Love Sam xx

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