Waking up is easy in Italy. No hangovers. No “what have I done” moments. No unattractive surprises. This has nothing to do with excellent wine, superior genes, or meticulous grooming habits. No, it’s easy to wake up in Italy because Italians know that they must face last night’s choices in the morning, and so they show discipline and patience, and always wake up feeling healthy and proud.
Then they saunter over to the refrigerator and open it, knowing they’ll still be madly in love with the leftovers from last night’s delicious dinner. They understand that, as a rule, if it isn’t really good at night, then it will be scary in the morning.
Yes! Last night’s pasta, reheated in a pan with olive oil, may actually be even tastier than the original – and in my house, worth hiding in a corner of the refrigerator. The same is true for Risotto alla Milanese, which is always delicious when piping hot and freshly made, but may be even better when the leftovers are prepared al salto, or fried into a crispy cake. So delicious, in fact, that you’d be proud to introduce it to your family and friends.
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.
In a saucepan, over low heat, add the saffron to the stock and keep it warm.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onion in 3 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and stir together until it’s lightly toasted and opaque. Add the wine and let cook for a minute, and add a ladleful of the hot stock. Continue to cook and stir until the liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add a teaspoon of salt. As the liquid absorbs, add more stock, a ladleful at a time, waiting until it’s almost completely absorbed before adding more. Cook until rice is al dente, about 15-18 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the rice. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the rest of the butter and the Parmigiano. Serve immediately
To prepare al salto.
If using freshly made risotto, spread it on wax paper to cool it down. Divide it into equal portions of about 1 cup each. In a large skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter and lower the heat. Place a portion of the risotto in the center of the pan. Use a spatula to flatten it into a circle. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Place a dinner plate over the top of the skillet and flip the risotto onto it and then slide it back into the skillet and cook for another 3-5 minutes. It should be golden brown on both sides. Repeat for additional cakes. Serve immediately.
Note: this takes some practice - keeping the risotto from breaking apart depends on your pan and stove. It’s also possible to make a single, thicker cake by cooking all of the risotto together in a larger pan, and then cut into wedges to serve.
This takes some practice - keeping the risotto from breaking apart depends on your pan and stove. It's also possible to make a single, thicker cake by cooking all of the risotto together in a larger pan, and then cut into wedges to serve.