Perfect for a chilly night, enjoy Sara Lempa’s cherished New Year’s family tradition – her dad’s Risotto Milanese di Giuseppe with Creamed Chicken.
(Recipe serves 4 people but this should feed more)
- 1 stick butter
- 2 c. Arborio rice (do not rinse)
- 1 small package dried mushrooms of any kind (I use shitake) and reconstitute them in 1 cup of the boiling broth set aside on the counter
- 2 lg cans or cartons of broth (chicken, veggie or even mushroom) or homemade
- 2 packages Spanish saffron*
*Crumble the packages into ½ c. of boiling broth and set aside on the counter. If you are using bottled saffron (I always use the threads), use your judgment about how many threads to use (I use a generous pinch, about ¼-½ teaspoon).
- Bring broth to a boil in a large pot and then leave simmering. Use about ½ cup to blend saffron into and ½-1 cup to reconstitute the dried mushrooms and set aside on the counter. My sisters use white wine for a cup or more of broth in the risotto (and drink a few glasses while stirring) but I do not! Always use a NON-METAL spoon when cooking risotto!
- Melt butter in another saucepan, add rice coating it with butter. Begin to add the hot broth, one ladle at a time into the rice, stirring constantly. Be patient. Continue to add broth. You may not use all your broth but it is good to have it ready.
- When rice is almost cooked (al dente), add reconstituted mushrooms chopped in small pieces, the broth it was sitting in and the saffron broth. Don’t waste a thread of the saffron – after all, it is the most expensive spice in the world and more expensive than gold.
- After about 30 minutes of continuous stirring, most of the broth should be absorbed. It should still be slightly loose but not watery. Let it sit in a serving bowl for at least 15 minutes and serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
The accompanying dish for the risotto is chicken in white sauce and a salad of field greens with an olive oil and white wine vinegar dressing
(Do this part ahead of time since the rice is labor-intensive)
Boil a couple or few chicken breasts in water or broth. Shred into big chunks. If I use this chicken broth for the risotto, I strain it until the broth is totally clear using paper towels in my strainer.
Make a roux (butter and flour) and add broth until thickened. Put the chicken in the sauce and serve with the rice.