Senior Food Editor Tim Cebula shares his tips for creating this classic Italian dish.
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Credit: Jennifer Causey

Simple dishes demand quality ingredients, and a dish doesn't get simpler—or more iconic—than risotto Milanese. It's a basic risotto seasoned with saffron. But the super-creamy rice and a knob of next-level butter are what deliver pure comfort. Here are the six ingredients that will make your risotto one to remember. This makes a filling, flavorful side for roast chicken or pork or braised veal shanks (osso buco).

View Recipe: Risotto Milanese

Carnaroli Rice

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Though Arborio rice can work just fine here, pros prefer carnaroli’s superior creaminess. Find it at gourmet markets or order it on Amazon.

Dry White Wine

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Its acidity cuts through risotto’s richness. Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc work well; avoid oaky Chardonnay.

Serve slow-roasted pork shoulder for a special occasion with pan sauce and crispy cracklings.

Saffron Threads

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Threads are better quality than saffron powder. You only need a few; too many will give a metallic taste. You can also order this online.

Pastured Cultured Butter

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Pricey, but worth it. Butter from grass-fed cows has deeper color, richer flavor, and more healthy fat.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

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Salty, nutty, and bold: Just a half cup makes the dish taste really cheesy.

Chicken Stock

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The flavor backbone of risotto. Among store-bought options, Swanson is hard to beat for full, meaty flavor (though it's definitely worth making your own in terms of price and just sheer deliciousness).