Creamy, tasty, meaty… the dish that keeps on giving

One of my winter (or any time of the year) favourites, is lamb osso buco on Risotto alla Milanese.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hrs 
  • Total Time: 2.5 hrs
  • Serves: 4
  • Difficulty: Not too tricky
  • Ideal for: family, crowd-pleaser, weekend lunch/dinner

Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese (Saffron risotto) is probably one of the most famous risotto recipes.

It’s wonderfully creamy and tasty.

It’s made with rice, saffron, butter, meat stock (beef or chicken), dry white wine and Parmigiano cheese.

What more could you ask for?!

Risotto alla Milanese is a mainstay in Northern Italy.

And is usually made Arborio rice which is starchier giving it that creaminess that’s needed.

You can also use Carnaroli rice which is also up there as one of the best to achieve a tip-top risotto.

Risotto is hard to make

It really isn’t hard to make.

But it does require two things.

Patience. You can’t rush a risotto.

And quality ingredients.

This means, getting good rice, and using quality stock.

And don’t be frugal with the butter.

A good risotto loves butter! (not oil)

And a nice Parmesan cheese to give the dish that savoury, pungent hit.

But don’t listen to me.

Check out top tips from Masterclass… the true professional chefs.

6 Masterclass tips for making Risotto alla Milanese

Here are a few tricks to prevent the dish from becoming mushy or burning.

Tips to make a creamy, chewy plate of Risotto alla Milanese

1. Use a narrow pot: When cooking risotto, it’s important for the grains of rice to maintain near-constant contact with each other in order to release their creamy starches. Too wide or large of a pot can create uneven temperatures in the pot and lead your rice to cook unevenly.

2. Watch your risotto closely: Stirring your risotto too much can make it gummy and porridge-like. However, not stirring it enough may lead to it burning in the pan. A good rule of thumb is to watch your risotto as it cooks, stirring sparingly to aerate it and prevent the bottom from burning at the same time.

3. Add the stock slowly Adding your stock in small portions allows the rice to slowly absorb the liquid while emitting its starches to make the dish creamy. As a rule, wait until the rice has fully absorbed one portion of stock before adding more.

4. Heat up your stock first Warm the stock in a small saucepan before adding it to the rice. Adding cold or room temperature stock to the hot pot of rice will cool the ingredients down and interrupt the cooking process.

5. Use high-quality saffron To achieve the best saffron flavour, use fresh saffron threads rather than store-bought powder. To prepare the saffron for cooking, grind the threads into a powder using a mortar and pestle and immediately add the spice to your risotto broth.

6. Cook the rice al dente: Overcooking the risotto will result in a porridge-like texture, rather than a creamy, chewy dish. Taste the rice periodically until it is al dente, then remove the pot from the heat. The risotto will continue cooking in the residual heat.

So, there you have it.

The best way to make a creamy risotto Milanese to have with your delicious slow-cooked osso buco.

Risotto alla Milanese recipe


  • 1.5 litres chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice, such as arborio
  • pinch saffron
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150 Parmesan, grated
  • 100g unsalted butter


  1. To make the risotto, heat the chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium heat and keep warm.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a medium sauté pan and fry the shallots for 2 –3 minutes. Now, add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes, then add the rice and saffron and stir well to coat the rice. Add the white wine and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly until all the liquid has been absorbed before adding another ladle. Continue until the rice is cooked, this should take about 15 –20 minutes. Add the Parmesan and butter to the risotto and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, divide the risotto between 4 plates and top with the lamb pieces.
Lamb osso buco alla Risotto alla Milanese

Osso buco on Risotto alla Milanese

If this is your first time to osso buco then here’s a little breakdown.

Osso buco is an Italian phrase that basically means a bone with a hole in it or a cross-cut shank or shin.

The cross-cut gives a lovely lush flavour to the stew.

Traditionally, the braising liquid is some combination of wine and stock, and the meat (traditionally veal but I use lamb in this dish) may or may not be browned in flour first.

It’s slow-cooked for hours so the meat gets fork-tender.

There are loads of different versions of osso buco.

But they all give you the same thing.

And that’s a hearty dish, full of rich flavour and tender meat.

For another great low and slow, inexpensive dish, try this delicious oxtail recipe.



Recipes from Italy

Recipe by Angela Hartnett

Lamb osso buco

Course Main Course
Keyword butterflied greek-style lamb, family recipes, lamb osso buco, one pan meal, one pot meal, osso buco, stew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost £


  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 700 – 1000 g lamb osso buco
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 1 head garlic, cut horizontally through the middle
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper for seasoning


  • Lightly sprinkle some plain flour to dust the lamb pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large lidded casserole over high heat and add the lamb to fry for 2–3 mins on each side, until lightly golden brown (don't over-crowd so do in batches if necessary).
    Then remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
  • To the same casserole dish, add the onion, carrot, leek, celery and garlic and fry over medium heat for 3–4 mins, until lightly golden.
    Then add the thyme, bay leaves, white pepper and a pinch of salt and mix well.
    Place the lamb back on top of the vegetables in a single layer and pour over the wine.
    Cook until the wine has reduced by half, then add the stock and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with a cartouche (a circle of baking paper) and a lid and simmer gently for 2 –3 hrs, or until the meat is so tender that it falls off the bone easily.
  • Serve (ideas to serve with it in the blog).


Inspired by Angela Hartnett