Creamy rice in a China bowl on a tablecloth with a black spoon to the right of the bowl

Traditional Risotto Milanese

This beautiful yellow risotto is flavored with saffron and nutmeg and plenty of Romano cheese.  Enjoy it as an entree or serve it as a side with short ribs or other stewed meats to create your own gourmet Italian plate.

Risotto Milanese is a traditional Italian dish that first appeared in cookbooks the 1800s.  Unlike risotto flavored with chicken or vegetable broth, this hearty dish features plenty of beef and saffron which gives it a unique texture and color.  This recipe uses a touch of nutmeg to enhance the flavor and Pecorino Romano cheese to add more flavor and texture to the dish.  Italian cooking is popular in Japan and there are many restaurants and cafes that serve risotto, but surprisingly, Arborio rice can be difficult to find.  Fortunately, Risotto Milanese uses Carnaroli rice which is grown in Japan and can be purchased online or in upscale grocery stores.

Saffron gives this dish its distinctive color, and the bright red saffron threads add to the beauty of this dish.

I love to cook risotto at home- once you get the basic technique down you’ll find that it is becomes very easy to prepare it perfectly every time.

Risotto Milanese paired with Oxtail Osso Buco


Traditional Risotto Milanese

Risotto Milanese takes about 35 minutes to prepare.  You will want to serve it hot as soon as it comes off the stove because Risotto will continue to cook and thicken after it is removed from the heat.  Risotto Milanese is flavored with beef, white wine, saffron, nutmeg, butter and cheese.

Risotto Milanese pairs well with beef, pork, or venison – especially if it is softened or stewed.  Try it with short ribs, oxtail, or baked pork for a great meal that your whole family can enjoy.

The complex flavor and beautiful presentation make this dish a family favorite in our home.

10 minutes 25-30 mins Serves 4
PREP 10 minutes
COOKING 25-30 mins
YIELD Serves 4
Creamy rice in a China bowl on a tablecloth with a black spoon to the right of the bowl


  • 1 cup Carnaroli rice (200g)
  • 2 1/2 cups beef consommé (500ml)
  • 1/4 cup water (50 ml)
  • 3/8 cup white wine (75 ml)
  • 1 tsp Saffron threads
  • 1 TBSP beef tallow (or suet)
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped fatty beef
  • 1/2 TBSP salted butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 oz shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
Ingredients for Risotto with prep work complete- onions chopped, cheese shredded, etcetera
Risotto Milanese Ingredients prepped,for cooking


Risotto Milanese Ingredients, not in the original packaging
Risotto Milanese Ingredients, prior to preparation


  • Heat up the consommé in a small saucepan.  Keep the consommé over low heat so it remains hot but does not boil.  Keep the consommé heated throughout cooking.

  • Sauté the beef and onion in the tallow in a skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes until the onion and beef are completely cooked through.  Add 1/4 cup of water and cook the mixture for another minute until the water is absorbed and the onions are softened.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • Melt the butter over medium heat in an 8 inch skillet.  Add the rice and sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the rice is hot and begins to change color but do not let it burn.

  • Mix in the white wine and stir in with the rice 1-2 minutes until the wine is completely absorbed.

  • Ladle about 1/3 of the consommé over the risotto.  Stir well.  Add all of the saffron except for 8-10 threads to be used later for decoration.  Add in the nutmeg as well.

  • Add back in the beef and onion mixture and stir until well combined.

  • Continue to ladle in enough console to keep the rice covered in liquid.

  • As the liquid is absorbed, add more to replace it.  Stir every 30 seconds throughout cooking.

  • Sample the risotto as you cook it.  The rice should be Al dente- hard but not crunch or difficult to eat.  Once the rice is Al dente, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

  • Serve immediately.  Top with a few saffron threads.


  • Beef Tallow or Suet can be used in this recipe.  When using suet, the tallow will rend out when heated.  You can remove any solid fat remaining after the beef and onions are fully cooked, or break it up and mix it into the onions while cooking.
  • Use fatty beef such as short rib and cut into very small pieces.  Try to avoid using any pieces that are tough or stringy- you want to use beef that will blend well into the risotto.
  • The only salt in this dish is from the butter and the consommé.  No extra salt is added during cooking.
  • Remove the risotto from the heat as soon as it is Al dente.  Risotto will continue to cook as it sits, so serve immediately.
  • The consommé should remain hot while cooking the risotto.  I sit mine in a saucepan next to the risotto and leave it on a low heat so it remains hot but not boiling.
  • Make sure to cook the risotto just hot enough so it bubbles lightly- usually somewhere between low heat and simmer.  You can’t rush it- ladle in just enough consommé to keep the risotto covered with liquid.
Risotto Milanese topped with a Pork Sparerib
  • Risotto Milanese pairs well with stewed beef or pork as seen above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days., although it will not be the same as if you eat it hot from the stove.  Add some hot water when heating back up to restore its consistency.


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