The “Risotto allo Zafferano”, or Saffron Risotto, stands as perhaps the most globally recognized and frequently prepared risotto variation. This creamy dish is renowned for its rich flavors, largely attributed to its key ingredient: saffron, one of the most prestigious and costly spices in the world.
Difference Between Milanese Risotto and Saffron Risotto:
The Saffron Risotto is also referred to as Milanese Risotto. However, a notable distinction exists between the two: traditional Milanese risotto incorporates veal marrow, whereas the Saffron Risotto does not. Instead, the latter’s preparation mirrors that of Parmesan Risotto but is augmented with the inclusion of saffron powder.
To achieve a perfect saffron risotto, the final step of creaming (“mantecatura”) is crucial. This technique involves stirring in butter and grated Parmesan cheese just before serving. If necessary, a splash of broth can also be added. If you do this right you won’t need to use fresh cream nor whipped cream at all in your risotto.
Saffron Risotto Origins
The legend behind Risotto alla Milanese traces back to the 16th century in Milan. As the story goes, a master glazier who was working on the windows of the Milan Cathedral added saffron, which was used as a pigment in the glass-making, to a rice dish at his daughter’s wedding as a joke. The resulting golden-hued risotto was a hit among the guests, and thus, the iconic dish was born. While this story might be more of a delightful folklore than a factual account, it certainly adds charm to the history of this beloved dish.