Andrew Tarlow’s new cookbook, Dinner at the Long Table, opens with a sort of poem, the first two lines of which are “read / don’t follow recipes.” I found this somewhat ironic as I prepared his version of Risotto Milanese, a dish I’ve made many times without a recipe. In the introduction, Tarlow’s wife Kate Huling writes that he and his business partner “opened Diner because they wanted a place to eat and hang out, not because they wanted to own a restaurant.” Fittingly, the book is more of a guide for home cooks preparing casual get-togethers and holiday parties for friends and family than a restaurateur’s foolproof manual.

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In that spirit, we wanted to feature a recipe from the final chapter, entitled “The Night Before A New Year,” in which Tarlow sketches out a menu for an elaborate Italian-inspired feast. If you’re planning to host a holiday dinner party, this is a good place to start. Risotto Milanese is one of my favorite recipes to prepare for guests because—truth be told—it seems a lot more difficult than it really is.

Tarlow’s version uses butter instead of olive oil, but you can use either or both. I cheated and used a bouillon cube instead of homemade broth, and I served it without the beef shank. No one complained. So, don’t follow this recipe to a T. Let it inspire you to make risotto your way. I think Tarlow would approve.

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Risotto Milanese
by Andrew Tarlow

Ingredients

 1       white onion, diced
 1       Large pinch of saffron
 7       tablespoons unsalted butter
 4       cups Arborio rice
½       cup white wine
 8       cups brodo
½       cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
          Braised Beef Shank
          Freshly ground pepper

Directions
In a large saucepan over medium heat, gently cook the onion and saffron in 4 tablespoons of butter until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook until you hear crackling sounds from the rice. Deglaze the pan by adding the wine and scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup of the brodo and simmer the risotto gently until all of the brodo has been absorbed. Add another cup, continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the brodo is absorbed. Gentle cooking is more important than constant simmering. In total, the rice should absorb around 8 cups of brodo, this will take 20 to 25 minutes. “the rice should be tender but still have a bit of chew to it. Cut the heat and let the risotto rest for a minute or two. A literal minute or two. Fold the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and the Parmigiano-Reggiano into the rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve, pour the risotto onto a platter and spoon the braised beef shank over it. Finish with black pepper.

Photos and Styling by Liz Clayman