Calling it a ‘rice cake’ really diminishes the true value of this lovely traditional recipe from the city of Milan where the Saffron Risotto is a must (AKA risotto alla Milanese). As so much saffron risotto is made, there’s often lots left over, therefore the resourcefulness of the Italian population came through once again creating this tasty dish that if you ask me is actually better than the risotto itself!
It was only natural that for this “Milanese” recipe I have used the Risotto rice from Riso Gallo, a specially selected rice perfect for all kind of risotto dishes.
Good on its own and great as a sharing dish, this clever recipe will become very handy to all risotto lovers out there as the principle is applicable to every risotto you make.
If you feel like going the extra mile and create a quintessential North Italian main course, present this riso al salto with buttery leeks and braised veal ossobuco (AKA veal shank)
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
- 300g Riso Gallo risotto rice
- 2g Saffron (pistils of powder)
- 1litre rich vegetable stock
- 100g grated Grana Padano
- 25g unsalted butter
- 60ml dry white wine
- 30g onion (finely chopped)
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2tbsp veg oil or clarified butter to fry
For the ossobuco and leeks
- 800g veal ossobuco (3/4 slices generally)
- 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 20g butter
- 400ml chicken stock
- 10g dry oregano
- 1 small bunch of mixed herbs (bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, basil)
- 2 garlic bulbs
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 carrots
- 1 large white onion
- salt and pepper to taste
- 20g flour (for dusting)
- 50ml white wine
- 1 large leek
- Start with braising the meat plenty of time ahead as it requires a few hours.
- Trim the shank slices with a small knife trying to remove the excess fat and connective tissue on the outer part and then rest in salt and pepper for 30 minutes.
- Dust the ossobuco with flour and in a large pan heat the olive oil and start searing the meat 5 minute each side at high heat until golden. Move the meat onto a tray and in the same pan, fry the vegetables roughtly cut with garlic and onion, pour in the wine and season with salt and pepper
- Put the ossobuco back in the pan, add a bouqhet garni (a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup an stock) and leave to simmer gently on low heat for 2 hours checking and turning the meat regularly.
- If the meat is super soft and nearly falling apart after two hours, it means that is ready. Gently removed the ossobuco slices and place them on the side. Strain the cooking liquid into a clean pan to remove the herbs and vegetables and put the ossocubo back into the cooking sauce. You can either remove the bones or serve them as they are.
- Move onto the risotto. Gently fry the chopped onion in a small casserole dish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10-15 minutes on a low heat, until golden and caramelised. Keep to one side.
- In a large casserole dish, start to toast the rice on a low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. This way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in more uniform al dente rice. Keep stirring the rice, so that it does not catch on the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour the white wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 15 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally, and keep cooking.
- Now you can add the cooked onion to the rice. Halfway through the cooking, soak the saffron in a ladle of hot stock and let it dissolve for 1 minute. Now add the saffron flavoured stock into the risotto and continue to cook, it will progressively become more yellow and flavoursome.
- Once the time is up, if you’re happy with the texture remove the risotto from the heat. The next step is called “mantecatura” – with the right movements you can make the risotto creamier and increase its natural ooziness. Add the grated Grana Padano cheese and butter to the rice. Stir with energy to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. Season to taste.
- Pour the hot risotto into a large baking tray or cake tin and let it cool for a couple of hours until is very firm.
- Now you can either cut the firm risotto with a ring into circles or keep it in a large cake-like shape.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan and add a spoon of veg oil or clarified butter (butter for frying). Roast the risotto for 3 to 4 minutes on each side on medium heat until it creates a lovely crispy outer crust. Turn the rice cakes over with a spatula very gently as by getting hot again the risotto will become delicate to manage. Once golden on each side serve set aside and keep warm.
- Now is time to cook the leeks. Cut into small pieces and rinse very well under running water. Boil in salted water for a couple of minutes and cool down to retain the colour. Heat a small pan and melt a knob of butter. Gently fry the leeks and season to taste.
- Place the risotto cake onto the plate and add the cooked ossobuco on top with a generous ammount of meat sauce. Add the creamy leeks and serve straight away.
Recipe by Danilo Cortellini
For more information and recipes from Riso Gallo click here
We met chef Danilo Cortellini in Milan, we were there with Danilo to discover Italian rice. Danilo is passionate about Italian cooking and very kindly agreed to let us have a few of his favourite Italian recipes for our readership to enjoy trying out.
Danilo is Head Chef at the Italian Embassy in London and was a finalist in MasterChef the Professionals in 2015.
See more recipes from Danilo Cortellini and Riso Gallo recipes here