Risotto alla Milanese
4 to 5 cups chicken broth or stock
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped prosciutto (optional)
1 cup Arborio rice
One-half teaspoon saffron threads
One-half cup dry white wine (or more broth)
One-third cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional at table
1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Have a ladle standing by, and keep the broth simmering throughout the recipe.
2. While the broth is heating, melt 2 tablespoons butter in another saucepan on medium heat, being careful not to burn the butter. Sauté onion and prosciutto in butter until onion turns soft and translucent. Stir in the rice, coating all the grains, and continue to sauté another minute.
3. Ladle one-half cup of the simmering broth into the rice, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. As the broth is absorbed, stir in another one-half cup of broth. Stirring constantly, continue to add one-half cup at a time whenever the broth has been absorbed.
4. When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, ladle one-half cup of broth into a bowl or cup and crush in the saffron. While the saffron dissolves and steeps into the broth, stir the white wine into the rice. When the wine has been absorbed, add half the saffron liquid, cooking and scraping the pot until the liquid is absorbed, then add the remaining saffron liquid.
5. When the saffron liquid has been absorbed, taste the risotto. It should be firm to the bite but tender. If it is too firm, continue adding more broth as above until just tender.
6. To finish the dish, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, fresh cracked pepper to taste and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Serve in shallow bowls or on plates with additional grated cheese on the side.