Sunshine in a Bowl : Saffron & Leek Risotto

The best way to brighten up dark dreary winter days is with a bright and cheery meal. Risotto alla Milanese is arguably one of the sunniest dishes you can make. Also known as saffron risotto, it is one of the most famous dishes of Italy. As legend has it, this dish was created the 1800s when a team of glassmakers repurposed some of the saffron they were using to stain the windows of Milan’s Duomo and added it to their dinner. I originally tried it in Milan, coincidentally when it was as rainy as it is here in Reims. I recreated this famous meal with a twist, adding my favourite vegetable for a subtle hint of sweetness (also because we have too many leeks in the fridge lol). Voici my recipe for saffron & leek risotto. It is super easy and is like a warm, sunny hug in your mouth.


300 g arborio rice

1 large shallot, finely chopped (or 1 small onion, finely chopped)

1 leek, cut in half moons ∼1cm wide

1.3 L boiling chicken stock (alternatively, use same volume of boiling water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes)

125 ml dry white wine (optional)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

A pinch of saffron

50g-100g freshly grated parmesan, plus more for garnish

2 knobs of butter


  1. Melt a knob of butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add shallots and leek. Cook with lid on until shallots are translucent and leeks are soft. Make sure that neither caramelize (add a large spoonful or two of water if needed). Optional: put about a spoonful of cooked leek aside for garnish at the end.
  2. Add rice and stir until the grains look glassy. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Pour in white wine and stir. Let cook until wine is absorbed. Skip this step if you do not want to use wine.
  4. Add in a ladleful of chicken stock and stir. Add in the saffron. The saffron will turn the rice yellow as you cook.
  5. Continue adding chicken stock ladle-by-ladle and carefully stirring until all of it is absorbed. Rice should be al dente and creamy.
  6. Add parmesan and the other knob of butter and stir until it is completely mixed.
  7. Serve with leeks and parmesan on top. It is delicious by itself or you can go full-Milanese and serve as a side for Ossobuco. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6. For leftovers, reheat with a few spoonfuls of chicken stock and butter. Alternatively, you can turn leftovers into arancini.

PS: I thought that I would a few photos of my rainy visit to Milan. It was still a spectacular city despite the weather! The Duomo that I mentioned earlier is the cathedral — I visited the inside and the rooftop. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping gallery in Italy.

The post Sunshine in a Bowl : Saffron & Leek Risotto appeared first on .

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published