When I received my wonderful box of comfort from Angelika of the Flying Apple, I was delighted. I dived right into the chocolate and the Panforte Senese (a Siennese nougat-like pastry, yum). And just as I was on the point of diving into the ingredients for the Milanese risotto, the flu struck our household. Rice might have been a good remedy to our symptoms but I wasn't so sure about the saffron. I waited until we were well - and believe me, by then we were ready for some serious comfort - and finally I made the risotto. I followed the recipe that Angelika had helpfully posted on her site, determined for once to get it right. I've made risotto quite a few times, but have always felt like a distinct amateur, never sure I had "the" right rice or that I was getting the consistency right. I also admit (with a red face) that I had never used saffron, never having any in my kitchen for long. (It's all the Critic's fault, as he never brought me back a big bag from Turkey when he went there on business...)
So now I had the right rice, the saffron AND a charming recipe that called for "six handfuls of rice". Determined to follow the spirit of the recipe, I dutifully measured out six handfuls of rice (plus one more because my hands are a bit small). I also scattered a fair amount of raw rice over the stove top. I'm not the most graceful cook you'll meet, nor the neatest.
It was fantastic. Creamy, fragrant, just a tiny bite and none of the nasty stodge factor that has occasionally plagued me in the past. (I used half dry white wine and half home-made chicken broth, correctly assuming that wine would be better in such a simple dish than making up the lack of broth with industrially produced stock.) I really get the point of risotto now, in a way I never have in the past. I am eternally grateful to Angelika, not the least because I still have some rice AND some saffron left over. When I run out, I'm going to have to run down to Vienna and beg her to take me to the right shops in the Naschmarkt to replace my ingredients. But it will be worth it!