About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Risotto with parmigiano | Main | Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms »

Risotto with Saffron, Milanese Style


I also love risotto, and make it often. Along with 00 flour and parmigiano, Arborio rice is one of the things I ALWAYS stash a couple of bags of in my extra piece of luggage. Doesn't everyone bring an empty suitcase for food shopping in Italy? I know one other Pomodori who does...

A few years ago, during a visit to Rome, we celebrated Brad's special birthday at Agata and Romeo. I was given a lovely gift by the hostess, a small book: 100 Risotti dei Migliori Ristoranti del Mondo. I have tried several, and have about seven or eight that are "standards" at our house. I have also created a few combinations of my own, using some of my favorite ingredients. But if truth be known, I have never made a straight forward risotto Milanese!

Yesterday, Sandi mentioned the two schools of thought about "to stir or not to stir". I have heard many a debate on this topic, and have tried it both ways. (I even make a lovely baked risotto with no stirring at all! ) But again, who am I to question Marcella?

I looked at my box of saffron threads. Hmmmm, I wondered how long it has been in my pantry, as it is not an ingredient I use often. It seemed to dissolve well in the hot water and looked like a good color, so I proceeded.



Marcella's process was clear and straight forward. It is perfect, especially for anyone who is afraid to try risotto. If you follow her steps, the risotto turns out perfectly, the right texture, and no mushy stuff or pan that is tough to clean. It was perfect. It is also the first time I have made risotto with home made broth, and it was worth the trouble. I will be keeping a permanent spot in my freezer for THAT!

We enjoyed our risotto with my favorite chicken thighs with caramelized onion and fennel.


Comments (7)

Would that be the same pomodori who also ships home boxes of dirty clothing to free up even more room in the suitcases for cheese . . . balsamico . . . jelly . . . coffee . . . flour . . . rice . . . and on and on . . .? LOL We have our priorities straight I think!

This risotto would be great with those wonderful chicken thighs (or the delicious rabbit version of your recipe as well). I can just taste it. MMM

I've also made a similar risotto to serve with osso bucco - it is a wonderfully rich risotto and seems to pair so well with rich dishes.

I used to pack a rolled up duffel bag in my luggage. When we were coming home, my treasures were packed in my carryon and all our dirty clothing went in the duffel to be checked.
Now, with the baggage fees. I mail my clothes home and carry-on my goodies.

Sounds delicious Palma! I agree with you, the home made broth really does make a difference.

Palma- the risotta looks really good. I also bring back food items. Had to buy a suitcase last visit just for that purpose. We usually do carryon only on the way there. For this visit, my husband and I each bought new luggage- a carryon and a piece to check. We will each only pack the carryon, so we'll have 2 empty suitcases to fill this time. Cheese, mushrooms, balsamico, wine, and who knows what all from Paris.

Marcella Hazan:

Carissima Palma, the risotto looks really good, the right consistency for Milanese, on the sticky side, whereas for a Venetian-style risotto with seafood or vegetables, runny would be better. Complimenti, also for making homemade broth.
I am puzzled by the foods you guys carry back from Italy. Porcini and pignoli I'd understand and fresh truffles. But rice and parmigiano? I have never had any difficulty finding either. If you live somewhere completely devoid of Italian staples, there are the online sources. Chefshop and Zingerman's have excellent parmigiano. Gustiamo has beautiful rice. The Consorzio sends me a large section of parmigiano each Christmas, and where do you think they send it from? Zingerman's in Michigan. Moreover, why are buying arborio when you can get carnaroli, infinitely superior? And are you really bringing back coffee when you can buy Illy at home? Maybe you can clear this up for me.


I can get 00 flour at King Arthur, or when we visit the "Little Italy" section of San Diego. I can also get Italian tuna there at $2.50 a can (although that was me screaming with delight last week when they had the tiny cans in MY ALBERTSONS!). I can also get either arborio or carnaroli rice at our upscale markets. The reason I buy them in Italy is the mental idea of a bargain. Flour: 7.99 vs 69 centissimi. Rice: $9 vs a euro. Tuna packs well, and I know I can have tonnato sauce or a simple tuna salad once a week for 3 months for almost nothing! I make taralli often, and go through a lot of 00 flour. I really like to use it for pasta. Again, this is in my head!

I love seeing the COOP label and remembering trips to the supermercato. We LOVE walking through Italian grocery stores. I ALWAYS find treasures, even if it is pretty paper napkins or tiny antipasti plastic forks that look like silver!

The other advantage to the "Extra suitcase for food" is I may find another Furla purse I HAVE to have, and there will be extra space.
The parmigiano in Bristol Farms is $20 for a tiny piece, where I can get 4 kilo for 50 euro! So, it must TASTE BETTER, and it is fun to say, "I brought it home from Italy!"

Marcella Hazan:

Palma. It's a question of temperament, I suppose. I married a man who has never wanted to know what things cost and who defines convenience as not having to pack or carry anything if it can be helped. If Bristol Farms parmigiano is $20 for a tiny piece you should check out Zingerman's. It's difficult to get better parmigiano in Italy, and for $20. you get more than a tiny piece. I can see that it's fun for you, and one should never take issue with other peoples' pleasures.

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