It is the personal signature of the chef Gualtiero Marchesi in a traditional italian dish: saffron risotto.
He added a precious golden leaf to decorate the saffron risotto milanese and he also introduced an innovation, leaving the sauteed onion and using an onion flavoured butter instead.
Saffron risotto is one of the most traditional italian recipes: the first document in which we can read about saffron risotto was of the XVI century and it was found in Milan. That’s why it is also called «Risotto alla milanese».
Pellegrino Artusi, important author and gastronomer, wrote the saffron risotto recipe in his book «La scienza in cucina e l’ arte di mangiar bene” ( The kitchen science and the art of well eating), published in 1891. For Artusi, there are 2 kinds of risotto alla milanese recipes:
the first prepared with sautéed onion, beef broth and saffron; the second also with beef marrow added.
Gualtiero Marchesi, one of the most famous italian chef (in his life he collected 3 Michelin Stars) was the first chef leaving the sauteed onion from risotto, adding a precious golden leaf at the end.
With Tenuta La Colombara and its Riso Acquerello we prepared this special saffron risotto during a live webinar.
Riso Acquerello is a special Carnaroli rice. It’s aged for at least one year in refrigerated silos, so the rice gets more consistency and the flavour is enhanced. Acquerello is also healthier, because the rice is whitened with a gentle method and the germ is reintroduced in the rice, giving back the nutrition values of a brown rice.
Saffron Risotto with edible gold leaves
Risotto for 2 people
- 160 gr of Acquerello rice
- 40 gr of butter
- 0,3 g saffron stigma
- 1 lt of beef stock
- 20 ml of white wine
- aged parmesan cheese
- 2 sleeves of edible gold
For onion butter
- 1 golden onion
- 250 gr of butter
- 250 ml of white wine
- 110 ml on white vinegar
Prepare the onion butter. Slice the onion and cook it with vinegar and wine at low heat, until the onion is translucid and the liquid is absorbed. Add the butter and melt, turning off the cooker. Filter with a strainer and keep the liquid butter. Put in in the fridge for on hour at least. You can cut the butter into cubes and keep them in the freezer for few months.
Prepare the saffron. Put the saffron in a little cup with some broth or water a couple of hours before starting to prepare your risotto.
Prepare the risotto. Take a large pot. and put a little bit of butter and turn on the fire. Put the remaining butter in the fridge to keep it cold. Start to toast the rice on low heat, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add a pinch of salt.
Why do we need to toast the rice?
In this way, the heat reaches the core of the rice grain, it becomes harder, and at the end the risotto will be al dente.
After a couple of minutes, add the wine. All the wine must be absorbed: in this way all the alcohol will evaporate. Now pour the simmering broth using a ladle, gradually. Set the cooking time to about 15 minutes. Stir the rice occasionally: in this way we help the starch to get out from the rice grain. This step is useful to prepare a naturally creamy risotto.
Keep on adding the simmering stock when needed, a ladle at a time, little by little. A couple of minutes before risotto is ready, add the saffron stock into the risotto and continue to cook.
Once the time is up, remove the risotto from the heat. The next step is called “mantecatura” and it’s useful to make the risotto creamier. Add the grated parmesan cheese and the cold butter to the rice. Stir with energy to melt and to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy.
Put the risotto in flat plate, beat at the bottom of the dish to flatten the risotto.
and finally add the the gold leaf.