International Day of Italian Cuisines

2009: Risotto alla Milanese

International Day of Italian Cuisines: already a Tradition


Our annual appeal to Italian culinary professionals and lovers of Italian food, at whatever longitude and latitude they may be, is a tradition by now. Thousands of them join itchefs-GVCI on January 17 to celebrate authentic Italian cuisine and to protect it from forgery and counterfeiting. “The IDIC is born from a mission”, says Mario Caramella, “We certainly aim at educating worldwide consumers, but more than anything else, we want to protect their right to get what they pay for when go to eateries labelled as Italian, that is, authentic and quality Italian cuisine”.


Risotto alla milanese: a true Italian golden story

by Rosario Scarpato

Mondine, rice weeders, were the protagonists
of Bitter Rice, a masterpiece movie directed by
Giuseppe De Santis (1949)

Risotto alla Milanese is indubitably a dish born in the Po Valley, in that part of Italy that’s found to the North of the imaginary line drawn from La Spezia to Rimini. It’s the symbol of a great Italian city, Milan, and as many Italian dishes - for example those listed by Pellegrino Artusi in his “La Scienza in Cucina e l'Arte del Mangiar Bene” (The science in the kitchen and the Art of Good Eating) - it was given birth by the trade and the reciprocal influence between the various parts of Italy.
On a gastronomic level, Italy has always functioned as a big federation of distinct flavours. It has been more unified by diversities rather than uniformity. Italians at all times have had great respect for the territorial and cultural specificity, hence for the local dishes, including those of their neighbourhoods. Abroad, this Italian gastronomic federalism has been emerging, for the last twenty years, especially on the menus of the Italian restaurants around the world: Neapolitan spaghetti alle vongole with saltimbocca alla romana, lasagne from Emilia with cassata from Sicily, polenta from Friuli and piadina from Romagna or Tuscan pollo alla cacciatora. And on these “federalist” menus, Risotto alla milanese has been a great protagonist. Rice had always been boiled in water or in other liquids and aromatized with different substances, but the true revolution was “toasting” it in translucent onion and then little by little adding broth and, once done, enriching it with saffron and giving it a creamy texture with mantecatura of butter and cheese; only this can be called risotto!


Risotto alla milanese. A chronology

Rice fields in the Italian province of Vercelli
Rice fields in the Italian
province of Vercelli

The most important moment in the history of a dish with its own unmistakable mystique.


What’s Risotto alla milanese today, at the beginning, was a rice or otherwise spelt soup prepared with broth.

Claudia Roden

Riso Sabbath col zafran” – “Sabbath rice with saffron” was eaten by the Venetian Jews. According to the American authoress, Claudia Roden, Risotto alla milanese is a direct descendant from that dish. She bases her theory on Giuseppe Maffioli’s book, La cucina veneziana (Venetian Cooking), in which that author, among other things, traces “the tradition of making risotto with any and every sort of vegetable” back to the Jews. According to an other American writer, Clifford A Wright, “Riso col zafran” was a sort of saffron pilaf, known by the Jews and Arabs of medieval Sicily who travelled to the North of Italy”. As well as Maffioli, Wright cites among his sources Alberto Denti di Pirajno, the author of “Siciliani a tavola: itinerario gastronomico da Messina a Porto Empedocle” (Sicilians to the Table! a gastronomic itinerary from Messina to Porto Empedocle.)

Libro Novo Nel

It’s certain that in this year, in Sicily, rice was associated with yellow, as in the recipe for Riso or Farro (Spelt) alla Ciciliana listed by Messisburgo in his “Banchetti, composizioni di vivande et apparecchio generale” (Banquets, the Preparation of Food and Dining in General) (Ferrara, 1549), a yellow rice but without saffron. Sicily lies at the foundation of Risotto alla milanese. In 2004, the Milanese “Corriere della Sera” newspaper reported a legend according to which “the servant of a family from Palermo that had moved to Milan attempted to cook a rice ball but wasn’t able to give it shape and thus the yellow rice was born”.

Bartolomeo Scappi
publishes “L'Opera dell'Arte del Cucinare” (The Work of Art of Cooking), in which appears a “Lombard rice victual”, consisting of boiled rice flavoured in strata with cheese, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, cervellata (an old Milanese cold cut, flavoured and coloured yellow with saffron) and pieces of capon. This dish was the forefather of the Risotto alla milanese that, according to Massimo Alberini, “preceded by centuries Naples’s sartù and Piacenza’s bombe, however little they like the fact.” (Corriere della Sera, 5.12.1997)


“The legend gives a exact date to the birth of Riso alla Milanese; 8th September 1574” is found in the Milan City Government Resolution of Recognition of Communal Denomination, for the traditional Milanese “panettone,” “michetta,” “cassoeula,” “risotto” and “ossobuco”. “That date had been set for the wedding of his daughter by the Belgian master glazer Valerio di Fiandra, who was working on the stained-glass windows of the Duomo, Milan’s cathedral, and for whom it apparently had a special meaning… During the wedding dinner appeared a rice dish coloured with saffron, a material that the crew of Belgian glazers, following Master Valerio, used to add to different colours to bring about particular chromatic effects. The rice prepared in that manner, perhaps as a joke, was enjoyed by everyone just as much for its flavour as for its colour; in those times pharmacological qualities were attributed to gold and, when this metal was lacking, to yellow substances”.

Cuoco Galante

In his “Cuoco Galante”, Vincenzo Corrado, a Benedictine monk and great Neapolitan gastronomist cites a recipe for yellow rice cooked in stock with egg and cheese.

Cuoco macaratese

Antonio Nebbia, in his book “Il Cuoco maceratese” (The Cook from Macerata), a Central-Italian town in the Region of Le Marche Region, is the first to propose “sautéing the rice, after having let it soak in water for some hours”.

In the “Oniatologia, ovvero discorso de' cibi con ricette e regole per bene cucinare all'uso moderno” (The Discourse on food with recipes and rules for good cooking in the Modern manner), published in Florence, as Eugenio Medagliani tells us that we find a recipe “to make Milanese soup” in which to the rice boiled in salted water is added a good piece of butter and flavoured with cinnamon”.

“The anonymous Milanese L.O.G. in “Il cuoco moderno” (The Modern Cook) presents a recipe called “riso giallo in padella” – “yellow rice in a skillet”, which indicates that the rice is to be placed in sautéed butter and onions and “let to become golden brown to the point of being well toasted.” “To the rice – establishes L.O.G. – are to be added cervellato and marrow, and then is to be bathed in broth, in which saffron is to be dissolved.”

Francesco Cherubini, in his Milanese-Italian Dictionary, says that the rice must be “flooded” with good broth. Medagliani points out: “One begins to catch a glimpse of the approximate guidelines for the preparation of risotto alla milanese; however one is still at a considerable distance from the true concept, that is of 'letting it simmer in a good broth, which is stirred in a little at a time'”.

The famous Milanese cook, Felice Luraschi, published “Il Nuovo Cuoco Milanese” (The New Milanese Cook), in which “riso giallo” – “yellow rice” becomes “riso giallo alla milanese” complete with butter, saffron, ox marrow and grated grana cheese. (meda)


Pellegrino Artusi features Risotto alla milanese, in his “La Scienza in cucina e l'arte del mangiar bene”. In the seventh (1903) of the innumerable editions of this book of recipes there are two for risotto, the first without wine and the second with the addition of marrow and white wine. Artusi notes that the latter is heavier on the stomach but it is more flavourful. According to Medagliani, “the addition of wine gives an acidity that helps remove the marrow fat, which is more difficult to dissolve in the mouth than butter, from the palate, and furthermore gives the risotto more substance and rounds out its flavour”.

Giovanni Cenzato, a Milanese journalist and playwright, interpreting the Milanese palate wrote: “Risotto has to be well fatted and soaked, intense of herbs and brazen of flavour”. “And it is just this robustness that is the characteristic of Milanese cooking and wow to the one who tries to do away with it! And this same robustness is wedded to the honesty of this food, an honesty which is derived from its very simplicity”.

Grana Lodigiano

Giuseppe Fontana, head chef of the mythical Milanese restaurant Savini from 1905 till 1929, published “La Cusinna de Milan” (The Cuisine of Milan), in which appears the recipe for Risotto alla milanese in verse. At the moment of adding the cheese, chef Fontana says to Gina, the ideal interlocutress, who is cooking: “Gratta giò el granon” – “Now grate the granon.” He was talking about Grana di Lodigiano, Granone, the progenitor of all the Italian Grana cheeses, including Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, which had probably been used from the beginning on.


The years of autarchy. Mussolini’s Italy felt the brunt of the sanctions placed upon her by the League of Nations for the invasion of Ethiopia. Rice enjoyed a moment of splendour and the regime encouraged its consumption. A risotto was featured in Petronilla’s book of recipes, now a symbol of the economic cooking of that time, Petronilla was the pseudonym for Dr. Amalia Moretti Foggia della Rovere. The recipe calls for the sautéing of the onion to the point of blackening – a heresy, but it indicates the removal of the largest pieces – for the addition of a little pepper and for grana that is “Lodigiano.” And in order to make it “luxurious”, Petronilla suggests, probably with Scappi's Lombard victual in her mind, putting “in a pan butter and (once having cleaned and cut into pieces) sweet-bread, veins, crests and livers; then covering the entire dome of your yellow rice with these exquisite innards.

The great Italian writer, Carlo Emilio Gadda, publishes the article “Risotto Patrio” in “Meraviglie d'Italia” (Italy's wonders), whereby he established some of the dish’s cornerstones, beginning with the type of rice to use, that is large-grained Vialone.

Le ricette

Anna Gosetti della Salda publishes “Le ricette regionali italiane” (Italian Regional Recipes) on 2000 pages that then became the reference work for Italian regional cooking. Here can be found, according to Roberta Schira, that which most approximates the Perfect Recipe for Risotto alla milanese: never parboiled rice, its toasting obligatory, obligatory is also the onion, brought slowly to translucence and not sautéed on a high heat, successively removed from the heat or stirred, the marrow and the broth. The wine is optional; the saffron can be stigmas or in powder form but the mantecatura, as is called the last stage of the preparation, which consists of removing the risotto from the heat, of leaving it to repose for two minutes and of stirring in the final butter or olive oil and the cheese, and the “all’onda” (see Dictionary) consistency may never be substituted.

Riso, oro e zafferano

1984 circa
Gualtiero Marchesi launched his “riso, oro e zafferano” – “Rice, gold and saffron” the most modern version of risotto, immediately copied around the world. As Marino Marini remembers “at the last moment, he added four pieces of gold leaf to Carnaroli risotto”. There was no broth – there was water in its place – and the onion was sweated in the butter and then filtered.

Florence Fabricant on the Nation's Restaurant News spoke of the “mystique of risotto” and told how, since the beginning of the ‘80s, in Italian restaurants in the U.S.A., risotto, and more than any other one risotto alla milanese, had won popularity at the cost of fettuccine all'Alfredo and tortellini alla panna. In 2001, Beth Panitz, in the April 2001 issue of Restaurants USA, expressed her recognition that risotto was an extremely popular Gourmet Comfort Food

Risotto alla milanese, along with other types of risotto, reached the New Frontier of the Bella Cucina Italiana in the world: Asia. Hong Kong, Tokyo and then Bangkok, but also then the other great Asian cities such as Singapore, Beijing and New Delhi. There has been a new generation of Italian chefs, who have studied and worked in Italy, to carry it out there; many of them are members of GVCI. Risotto traces a fundamental path in the history of Italian cooking outside Italy, which, definitively, no longer is that cooking imposed by the Italian emigrants, by improvised cooks.

Le ricette

Risotto is granted the Resolution of Recognition of Communal Denomination (De.Co.) by the City of Milan as a typical Milanese product together with panettone, michetta, cassoeula and ossobuco. In Italy the De.Co. is a guarantee, stemming from a law granting the authority to Town and City Halls to establish discipline in the evaluation of the activity of the traditional production of foodstuffs. The great Italian gastronomist, Luigi Veronelli, was a serious paladin of the De.Co. The same year, Luca Gaggioli, the editor of “Ristorarte”, launched Giallo Milano – Yellow Milan, a project to re-evaluate the gastronomic and cultural roots of Risotto alla milanese.


Gourmet comfort food: a dictionary

What is important to know about risotto alla Milanese according some prestigious food writers and gastronomers.


A full-scale preoccupation for C.E.Gadda: “Butter, quantum prodest”, “quantum sufficit, no more, I beg you; it should not be a dip or a dirty sauce: It should just coat each and every grain; it should not drown them out”.


“The broth you use for risotto is not stock”, reminds us Craig Camp and it’s good to clarify this for the non-Italians. Rightly Camp specifies that “a stock is made by simmering meat or fish with bones and vegetables, then the resulting liquid is strained and often reduced to concentrate flavours. An Italian broth is often the by-product of making a main dish like Il Lesso da Brodo, a boiled beef main course that creates a wonderful broth”. He’s quite in agreement with Gadda’s prescriptions: “For the broth, boil beef with carrot and celery”. Ideal, for the great Italian writer, was that all three came from the Po Plain and that the bull was not “aged, spirited or Balkan of horns”. Some authors let a broth of beef and chicken pass, but the purists don’t admit it, and soup cubes are absolutely not admissible.

CERVELLATO (or Cervellata or Scervellata)

In Felice Luraschi’s recipe, this was a cold cut consisting of pancetta and pork brain, fat (often kidney fat), ox marrow, spices, among others, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and saffron together with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. All this was mixed and stuffed into gut once “dyed in saffron water”, as explained by Vincenzo Corrado in “Il Cuoco Galante” (1773). Roberta Schira maintains that “as the years passed, cervellato disappeared and was replaced by beef marrow, which had been an ingredient of the former, or by gras de rost”. (see below)



The presence of onion is an absolute must, according to food writer Roberta Schira. The onion is slowly brought to translucence without being coloured, suggests Anna Gosetti della Salda who also recomends to discard it eventually, when its essence has already been transferred to the butter. Gualtiero Marchesi in his recipe of Rice, gold and saffron says that the onion should be made “to sweat” in the butter and then strained. “It’s impossible to stew the onion and at the same time sauté the rice a rigueur”, observes Eugenio Medagliani. He adds: “In order to maintain the onion the rice can only be stewed”. So, “if we wanted to toast the rice, as should be done, the onion would only take on colour;… the solution can be found by cooking the two contenders separately using the most adequate method for each one”.


Gadda warns: “Risotto alla milanese must not be over-cooked, no, not at all! It should be served just a little more than al dente... the grains still individuals, not stuck to their companions, not softened into a slime, into a soup that could prove to be unpleasant.” The perfect point of cooking is, continuing with Gadda, reached in “twenty, twenty two minutes”. The way to stir is of fundamental importance. Some do it clockwise and others not, there are yet others who suggest that there’s even a biodynamic way of doing it. It certainly has to be done well, as Anna Gosetti della Salda suggests, but with gentleness, with a hollowed out cooking spoon (mestola bucata): “however, even if it sticks a little to the casserole you don’t have to worry considering that gourmets maintain that a truly good risotto el g'ha de savè de tàcaa giò (it must stick to the pan)”. But then there are yet others who are against stirring such as the chef-producer, Gabriele Ferron, from the Isola della Scala.


In Milan, risotto is traditionally eaten with a spoon. This is the manner recommended in the discipline of the Communal Denomination. Anna Gosetti also recommends serving it by pouring it “into a sizable dish and serving it with the rest of the cheese aside”.


The cheese traditionally used in the preparation of risotto alla milanese was Tipico Lodigiano, known as “il grana con la goccia” – “the grana with the drop,” because of the “tears” of serum that remain ever after months of aging. After having risked extinction, now it is produced in small quantity. But Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano do work very well. In his times, Gadda remembers that the sober (and elegant) Milanese allowed the use of only a little bit of grated Parmigiano.


The “gras de rost,” in Milanese dialect, are the pan dripping of a roast; this ingredient was found in all the bourgeois homes at the turn of the XX century as Roberta Schira remembers, when quoting Ottorina Perna Bozzi, the expert in Lombard and Milanese culture.


mestola con buco

Eugenio Medagliani, the mythical Milanese “calderaro umanista”, humanist potmaker, describes it as follows: “A sort of piece of wood used to mix the food in a pan and that is inappropriately named a wooden spoon. The handle is of a flat shape in order that it can be held comfortably yet firmly; the other end is wider and slimmer in order to be able to unstick the food from the corner of the cooking vessel. The invention of the hollowed out cooking spoon was born of the need of facilitating the mixing of the ingredients, used in the production of pastes, creams and also creamy risotto alla milanese”.


According to the criteria of the Communal Denomination (De.Co.), “risotto should be rather liquid (“all’onda”), with the grains still clearly separate yet held together as a creamy whole.” The "onda" is also the reason why risotto can so easily be overcooked. Therefore, it’s recommended to make no more than seven or eight portions at a time. When the old Milanese trattorie expected a large number of guests, the risotto was prepared in various casseroles, each one started some minutes after the previous one; what was not served was set aside for making risotto al salto.



In the 14th century, in Italy rice was extensively cultivated only in the region around Naples. It had been introduced by the Spaniards, who had received it from the Arabs, by the crusaders or by Venetian merchants. Thanks to the close relationship between the Aragonese and the Visconti and Sforza families, the cultivation of rice was extended to a part of the Po Plain that belonged to the State of Milan, particularly in the area of Vercelli. Up until the 16th century rice was considered to be almost medicinal, but then in 50 years, the number of rice fields on the Po Plain went from 5.000 to 50.000 according to a Spanish census.



Which rice for risotto? Without any doubt, quality rice! Gadda has no doubts about it: “Large-grained Vialone, shorter and plumier than the Carolina grain”, but Carnaroli also works well as does quality Arborio (“not the one in the supermarket”, warns chef and food writer Marino Marini, “the one in my market”). “Never parboiled”, we are warned by Roberta Schira, “because the free starches contained in this make it impossible to perform a perfect mantecatura”, as is called the last stage of the preparation, which consists of removing the risotto from the heat, leaving it to repose for two minutes and of stirring in the final butter or olive oil and the cheese. But whichever rice it be, Gadda finishes by informing us that it should not be “entirely deprived of its pericarp.”



The word goes to Medagliani once again: “The risottiera is that tinned copper vessel that the Milanese have traditionally used for cooking risotto all'onda (minestra) for centuries... (like the old one in the photo). The brim of the risottiera opens toward the top so that it is easier to stir with a wooden cooking spoon. The semicircular wrought-iron handle is riveted to the top of the vessel. It has an extremity divided into the two sides of a spout in the shape of an up-side-down U, which allows the risotto to be poured directly into the serving dish”.

risotto al salto


Technically, risotto al salto is a variation of risotto alla milanese accepted by the De.Co. (Communal Denomination) code. “It is prepared by flattening the rice with the hands onto greaseproof paper, until a pie is formed” It is then placed in a cooking pan in hot butter and it is cooked while the vessel is moved slowly until a crust is formed. It is then done on the other side.


Back to Gadda again: “With the first rains of September, fresh mushrooms in the casserole; otherwise, after San Martino, shavings of dried truffle done with a truffle slicer could find their way into the dish.” Neither of the two “manages to pervert the profound, the vital, the noble meaning of risotto alla milanese”. The De.Co. code allows the white truffle variation, as that of dried mushrooms and the third is traditional: risotto al salto.


Wine or no wine in risotto alla milanese? Roberta Schira writes, “The traditional recipes do not speak about it until the end of the 1800’s”. She adds: “Fading the rice into white or red wine seems to be a habit born of the disappearance of pan drippings (gras de rost) from risotto. The drippings already contained wine and hence the acidic component. When they were not available, wine was used, almost always red as a substitute”. According to Gadda, “two or more tablespoons of full-bodied red wine (Piedmont) do not step down from the obligatory prescription; however, they who care to do so may enhance the dish with that aromatic flavour which favours and speeds up their digestion.” Pellegrino Artusi, from the seventh edition of his “Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well” on, gives one recipe without wine and one with wine and marrow. On the other hand, the rules of the De.Co. say that it is important “never to add wine, which would kill the perfume of the saffron”. Anna Gosetti was of the same opinion, while Gualtiero Marchesi suggested using sour butter instead to balance out the gras de rost.


Rice is born in water and dies in wine according to the proverb, and especially in red wine. Barolo and Barbaresco form an ideal marriage, but Dolcetto and Pinot Noir too. If lacking, outside Italy, in the New World, Pinot Noir from Oregon, Australia and New Zealand are very satisfactory. In general, avoid wines that are excessively woody.



The Arabs brought “za’faran” to Europe from Persia. The Farsi word, “sahafaran,” (saffron) derives from “asfar,” which means yellow, due to the colour the stigmas assume once cooked. Around 1300, a Dominican monk brought it to Italy and it was cultivated in many places on the peninsula, starting with Sicily. Its Latin name is crocus sativus and very quickly it became the symbol for gold, happiness and wealth. “Today saffron is harvested in San Gavino in Sardinia and around L'Aquila in Abruzzo, above all on the Navelli Plain. According to many experts, Italian saffron and in particular that from Abruzzo, is absolutely the best,” writes Roberta Schira. The saffron from L'Aquila and that from San Gimignano are DOP. Recently, excellent saffron has been produced also in the Province of Arezzo. During the second fortnight of October saffron is harvested by hand; the elaboration of the stigmas is also manual. They contain an extremely high percentage of carotenoids, optimal natural antioxidants, and of vitamines B1 and B2, which contribute to the metabolisation of fats. Four or five pistils per person are the correct dosis.



The father of “unitary” Italian cooking thanks to his best seller
La scienza in cucina e l'Arte del mangiar bene (The Science in the kitchen and the Art of Good Eating). Pellegrino Artusi in Wikipedia.

Carlo Emilio Gadda


Great Italian writer of Milanese origin and also a gastronomy critic. Quotes are from “Riso Patrio. Recipe”, published in Italian in Meraviglie d'Italia, Mondadori, Milan 1965. Carlo Emilio Gadda in Wikipedia.

Cover of Regional
by Anna Gosetti della Salda

One of the most complete Italian cookbook that you can get. Well researched and written it contains more than 2160 recipes from every region of Italy.


The most influential Italian chef of the last 3 decades at least. His risotto recipes are in the Italian book Il Codice Marchesi (The Marchesi code), Marchesiana, Milan 2007.


Defined himself as a “humanist potmaker”, selling pots his whole life but was above all a well educated person, dedicated to the sciences of man. Historian, gastronomist, critic, writer, editor and discoverer of talent. The Milanese, the Lombard and the Italian cuisines held no secret from him. Quotes are from “Da riso a risotto” - “From rice to risotto”, an original article written for the GVCI forum.

La Gola
Cover of La Gola
by Marino Marini

Gastronomist, author of books and publications, and librarian of the Scuola Internazionale di Cucina (International School of Cuisine), Alma di Colorno, Parma. Quotes are taken from the Chapter “Il risotto alla milanese” that will soon be published in his book “La Gola”, published by Food Parma.


Writer, culinary critic, food stylist and collaborator with Panorama, RistorArte, GolfLife, Uomini & Business and other Italian magazines and publications ( Quotes are taken from “Risotto alla milanese: la ricetta perfetta”, published in RistorArte, The magazine of Design and Gastronomic Culture.


Risotto is slow by character

Il Riso

"Remember that for the risotto you will have to wait about 20 minutes". This statement that bothers some guests and makes them change their order is for me exactly that which confirms my desire to choose rice. I love rice because it is slow by character, in anticipation of all fashionable movements of taste. It’s also democratic, it makes for few difficulties”. Gianni Mura, in his introduction to Mario Musoni's book: Rice is Born in Water and it Dies in Wine. Mario Musoni is a chef-traveller. Though he is based in Montescano (Pavia), where with his wife Patricia, runs an excellent restaurant (al Pino), in recent years he has increased his trips abroad. His experience and talent is very much appreciated by Italian restaurants around the world. Therefore, he can now be considered to be a permanent quality educator of Italian Cuisine and its traditions. With the years Mario has become one of the most venerated experts in risotto in Italy. The surprising thing is that, despite the fact that he is a scrupulous follower of Italian culinary traditions, when it comes to risotto, he has maverick theories.

Mario Musoni
Chef and GVCI member Mario Musoni

While all the GVCI chefs will be celebrating the traditional risotto alla milanese according to the original recipe, we think it is appropriate to pay a tribute to Mario. He represents an exception, an honourable one.The 2009 International day of Italian Cusines is perhaps the biggest international celebration of risotto, and Mario has spent most of his life promoting it. Here a brief note written by himself for itchefs-GVCI.
“The title of my last book about rice is Rice is Born in Water and Dies in Wine, and as of the fourth edition, in the preface can be found: “I was born with my feet soaked in a rice paddy. I come from San Zenone Po, the lowest lowland on the Right Bank of Father Po, where once you could only find rice paddies, frogs, mosquitoes as big as birds and cooks. Yes, a tradition of cooks. Many of them have directed prestigious kitchens around the world; the number one of them has to be the great Gualtiero Marchesi. Then we have given birth to one of the greatest of the great journalists, Gianni Brera, one of the best food commentators Italy has ever had. Throughout the years, I have studied in depth a technique of preparing risotto that has brought me excellent critiques from the press. So let me explain it to you: I don’t sauté the rice because I would have to use a fat which could be headed to over 100º C and so would remain in the preparation and would make the risotto too heavy; I don’t use onion; every risotto would, more or less, have the taste of onion (and if not of scallion); I don’t toast the rice; the burnt grains would form a crust around themselves and wouldn’t let the starch, the creamy and flavourful part, come out.

"Therefore this is my recipe"
Risotto alla Milanese, four servings;
300 gr. Carnaroli (or Arborio) rice. Vialone rice is no good because it is not superfine and it does not retain the desired effect of the cooking. Furthermore, the grains are tiny.
white meat broth
20 pistils of saffron (Iranian or Spanish are the best)
8 marrow bone slices
50 gr. grana or parmigiano cheese, not aged
8 cubes of oven-stewed veal shank (ossobuco), with gremolata (chopped lemon peel, parsley, garlic and other desired fresh herbs, peppered and salted)

“Place the rice, dry, in a pre-heated gold-plated copper pan; a little at a time, bathe the rice with the broth, heated just to the point of boiling; add the saffron pistils. Bring to point of readiness in 16 minutes, remove from heat, it should be all’onda, add the butter and cheese and give a quick mantecatura. Burn the slices of bone marrow in a small anti-stick frying pan a few seconds, until golden and place in the centre of the plate. Surround with two cubes of shank and its broth, and serve.”


Watch Donato de Santis step by step recipe (VIDEO)



Risotto alla milanese: a recipe

The recipe for an authentic risotto alla milanese as recommended by GVCI President Mario Caramella.


Essential Equipment

One heavy copper or stainless steel saucepan with one handle 28x10
One wooden cooking spoon (mestola)


300 gm rice, Vialone or Carnaroli (this is not a brand but a kind of rice)
100 gm butter (use only the best quality, unsalted and make sure it is cold from the fridge not half melted and greasy)
150 ml dry white wine (at room temperature not cold)
1 lt broth (made from beef or beef and chicken or veal, keep it light in color but full in flavour, salt sparingly)
1 teaspoon of saffron threads
50 gm white onion, chopped very fine
50 gm grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano (please stop calling everything parmesan)
(Bone marrow. You can skip this ingredient. Alternatively you may pan roast 20 pieces of 1cm thick slices of it and place them on top of your risotto just before serving it)


  1. We use a smart procedure for the onion, which works very well when you are producing for a busy restaurant.
  2. Slowly pan-fry at very low heat the chopped onion until translucent, making sure the onion does not gets dark, and place it a side.
  3. Add 50gm of the butter to the saucepan, making sure it is not too hot otherwise the butter will burn, add the rice and toast it at medium heat and always keep stirring with the wooden spoon.
  4. When the rice is well toasted, add the onion previously cooked, stir well and add the wine, simmer and keep mixing until the wine has evaporated.
  5. Now start the cooking by adding ladle by ladle the broth to about 1cm over level of rice level and keep mixing. Add the saffron threads.
  6. Continue this exercise until the rice is al dente and remove the saucepan form the heat
  7. The rice will be of a runny consistency (all`onda) and ready for the “mantecatura”. This operation will give the risotto a creamy but still light consistency, so add the remaining butter and the freshly grated cheese and stir well until the butter is all melted and the cheese is incorporated into the risotto; if your broth is perfect in flavour you will not need to adjust the salt, so serve the rice on a hot flat plate. In Italy we eat risotto with a fork but in some area of the world you may want to add a spoon on the table mis-en-place.

17.01.2009 – An unforgettable International Day of Italian Cuisines

Mario Caramella
Mario Caramella

“It has really been an unforgettable day”, says Giulio Vierci, chef and owner of Giulio’s Wine Bar in Sapporo, Japan. “Our clients greatly appreciated the mythical risotto alla milanese”, adds Armando Capochiani, chef at Venexia Restaurant in Shanghai, China. “A great success”, confirms Emanuele Esposito, executive chef of il Villaggio, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who prepared the risotto not in the kitchen but in the restaurant lounge in front of his clients as many of his colleagues around the world did.

These are the comments of just three of the hundreds chefs who participated in the International Day of Italian Cuisines (IDIC) last January 17th. “We are very happy about how the celebration has gone”, says Mario Caramella, GVCI President and Executive Chef from Bali, Indonesia. He adds: “I want to thank the hundreds chefs, the thousands of cooks, kitchen assistants and waiters for making this unique event in over 50 countries possible.” “Moreover, we are very grateful to the restaurant customers everywhere for understanding and enthusiastically sharing the spirit of the day”, says Rosario Scarpato, managing editor, who managed the communications of the event.


IDIC 2009: The Map


The Americas: the New York launch, great celebrations in Mexico, Rio and Argentina

Anne Burrell, Cesare Casella and Giovanni Grasso
at the Italian Culinary Academy New York
preparing risotto alla Milanese

This International Day of Italian Cuisines was launched with a worldwide preview on 15th January during a reception for media and industry professionals at the ICA – Italian Culinary Academy in New York City.

Hosted by Cesare Casella, the executive chef of the Salumeria Rosi, a senior member of the GVCI and above all the director of the Italian Culinary Studies at the ICA, the preview featured the participation of Rosario Scarpato, food and wine expert and honorary president of GVCI; Food Network chef and hostess, Anne Burrell; Mark Ladner, executive chef of Del Posto Restaurant; and GVCI senior member Giovanni Grasso, chef patron of La Credenza restaurant in Turin, Italy. Mario Caramella, GVCI president, spoke from Bali, in a videoconference.

launch of the IDIC09
Cesare Casella (Dean), Mark Ladner (Executive Chef Del Posto)
and Rosario Scarpato at the New York launch of the
International Day of Italian Cuisines
New York
The International Culinary Centre
and the The Italian Culinary Academy,
New York
GVCI's chefs
New York based GVCI’s chefs: (from left) Enrico Bazzoni, Ivan Beacco, Paola Botero, Cesare Casella,
Giovanni Grasso, Anne Burrell, Mark Ladner, Rosario Scarpato and Odette Fada

For the occasion Roberto Bava, senior GVCI member and wine producer, sent some rare bottles of his fine Piano Alto Barbera d’Asti, 1999 vintage. Every New-York-based chef and restaurateur belonging to itchefs-GVCI participated in the event, including Tony Mai (San Domenico Events), who spent a long part of his professional life in the promotion of authentic Italian Cuisine in New York and the U.S. at large.

Toni Mai and R. Scarpato
Restaurateur and Italian Cuisine
promoter Toni Mai (San Domenico Events)
with Rosario Scarpato at the Italian
Culinary Academy New York

New York based GVCI members prepared risotto alla milanese two days later. The majority cooked and served it in their restaurants, as did Ivan Beacco (Borgo Antico), but others in special settings: chef Odette Fada of San Domenico Events was hired by the Italian fashion family, Bulgari, to prepare risotto at their New York home; the former executive chef, Enrico Bazzoni (now food consultant, Culinary Liaisons) joined the celebration by cooking risotto at home for friends visiting from New Zealand.

Enrico Bazzoni,
food consultant (Culinary Liaisons)
prepares risotto for his
New Zealand guests

Among the chefs who cooked risotto in Canada was Claudio Rossi, recently appointed executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. This caused particular pride for Claudio, since he was born in Milan.

Ivan Beacco, Borgo Antico restaurant in New York City, celebrates
the 2009 IDIC among his clients eating Risotto alla Milanese
Claudio Rossi
Claudio Rossi, Executive chef at the
Four Seasons Hotel Toronto (Canada) and his risotto
Four Seasons Hotel Toronto (Canada): Claudio Rossi’s
Risotto is ready at the Studio Cafè Resturant

The IDIC celebrations were successful in Central and South America as well: Silvia Bernardini of L’invito in Veracruz was the point of reference in Mexico; she not only celebrated in her restaurant but participated in the organization of a Risotto Night promoted by the Amassador Felice Scauso and Marco Bellingeri the Director of the Italian Institute of Culture, at the Italian Embassy in Districto Federal (Mexico City). Risotto has been cooked by Luigi Pironti. In other parts of Mexico, other itchefs-GVCI associates participated in the ola, such as Alessandro Mancuso, Maravia Resort, La Paz, Baja California.

Elena Ruocco
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): Elena Ruocco,
itchefs event coordinator, joined Francesco
Carli, Executive Chefs at the
Copacabana Hotel, to cook Risotto
alla Milanese for the 2009 IDIC

A special celebration was organised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Elena Ruocco, itchefs event coordinator, and Francesco Carli, executive chef of the Copacabana Hotel, and supervisor of the in-house Ristorante Cipriani. Elena has been of a great help in the organization of the worldwide 2009 IDIC.

Tony Cavalli
Tony Cavalli, Cantina Don Domenico
Restaurant, Manaus (Brazil)
with one of his customers

For Tony Cavalli, in Manaus, Brazil, as well, the 17th of January was a day to remember.

In Chile, Roberto Illari, celebrated a successful IDIC in his new position as chef (and co-owner) of Belpaese Restaurant in Santiago. “It was a magic day,” said Roberto.

Roberto Illari
Roberto Illari, chef and coowner
of Belpaese in Santiago (Chile)

Bruni restaurant,
Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Argentina, TV celebrity chef, Donato De Santis, included risotto alla milanese on the day’s menu of Bruni, the restaurant he co-owns in Buenos Aires, having previously invited all the Italian restaurants in Argentina to prepare and serve a genuine risotto alla milanese for the IDIC: Luciano Nanni, of Once Resto Bar in the city of Rosario, was among the first to take up Donato’s appeal.

Chefs who cooked Risotto alla Milanese in the Americas

Donato de Santis, Bruni Restaurant, Buenos Aires

Francesco Carli, Copacabana Palace Hotel, Rio de Janeiro
Elena Ruocco, Personal Chef and Italian Cuisine Cooking Classes, Rio de Janeiro
Tony Cavalli, Cantina Don Domenico Restaurant, Manaus

Gabriele Paganelli, Romagna Mia Restaurant, Toronto
Gianni Poggio, Gianni &Maria Trattoria, Toronto
Claudio Rossi, Studio Cafè Resturant at the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto
Giampiero Tondina, Copper Creek Golf Club, Kleinburg

Nino John Boccato, Zamaca’ Bed and Breakfast Inn,Saint Lucia
Ignazio Podda , Unique Villas of the Caribbean, Jamaica
Antonio Tardi, Italian Village Beaches, Turks & Caicos

Roberto Illari, Belpaese Restaurant, Santiago
Walter Monticelli, Due Torri Restaurant, Santiago

Luigi Passano, Riviera Restaurant, Guayaquil

Silvia Bernardini, L’Invito Restaurant, Veracruz
Alessandro Mancuso, Maravia Resort, La Paz, Baja California
Festa del Risotto alla Milanese at the Italian Embassy in Mexico City. Organised by the Embassador Felice Scauso, the Director of the Italian Institute of Culture Marco Bellingeri and our Silvia Bernardini [L'Invito Restaurant / Veracruz]. Risotto was cooked by Luigi Pironti, Italian cuisine expert.

Alberto Gianati, Casa Italia Restaurant, San Juan

Gaetano Ascione, Al Bentley Hilton, Miami
Enrico Bazzoni, Culinary Liaisons, New York
Ivan Beacco, Borgo Antico Restaurant, New York
Paola Bottero, Paola’s Restaurant, New York
Andrea Cavaliere, Cecconi’s Restaurant, West Hollywood
Odette Fada. San Domenico Event , Risotto alla Milanese for Bulgari (private function), New York
Francesco Farris, Arcodoro&Pomodoro Restaurant, Dallas
Giancarlo Ferrara, Arcodoro Restaurant, Houston
Andrea Ossola, Quattro Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel, Houston


Asia: la “Staffetta del Risotto”: from Bali to the rest of the great asian cities

Valter Gosatti, The Ivy Restaurant, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Valter Gosatti, The Ivy Restaurant,
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

“It’s freezing over here but I am happy, because I got the ingredients to prepare my risotto alla milanese from Italy”, wrote Valter Gosatti, executive chef at The Ivy Restaurant, in Ulan Batar, the capital of Mongolia, to the GVCI Forum on 17.01 while the thermometer outside was marking minus 25°C.

But the Asian “staffetta” (the correct way to translate “ola” in Italian, as suggested by the Italian Australian journalist Claudio Paroli) of risotto alla milanese reached all the warm South East Asian capitals as well: from Bali, where risotto was cooked by GVCI president Mario Caramella in a golden context, to Jakarta, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Shenzen, and to Bangkok, where Frederik Farina at Spasso closed the night with a bingo, offering Carbonara, last year’s IDIC celebration dish, and this year’s Risotto alla Milanese.

Bali (Indonesia): Mario  Caramella GVCI President and Executive Chef of Hyatt Hotel Sanur with his  Risotto
Bali (Indonesia): Mario Caramella GVCI President and Executive Chef of Hyatt Hotel Sanur with his Risotto
Bali (Indonesia): Risotto alla Milanese by Mario Caramella, GVCI President and Executive Chef of Hyatt Hotel Sanur
Bali (Indonesia): Risotto alla Milanese by Mario Caramella, GVCI President and Executive Chef of Hyatt Hotel Sanur
Executive Chef Andrea Tranchero (first on the left) and his brigade at Ristorante Armani, Tokyo (Japan)
Executive Chef Andrea Tranchero (first on the left) and his brigade at Ristorante Armani, Tokyo (Japan)
Cristiano Pozzi, Sous Chef of Officina Delfingher Restaurant, Tokyo (Japan) (third from left) and his team
Cristiano Pozzi, Sous Chef of Officina Delfingher Restaurant, Tokyo (Japan) (third from left) and his team
Armando Capochiani, Venexia Restaurant, Shanghai (China)
Armando Capochiani, Venexia Restaurant, Shanghai (China)
Roberto Cimmino e his mentor chef Angelo Magliaro at Mezzo Restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel Futian, Shenzhen (China)
Roberto Cimmino e his mentor chef Angelo Magliaro at Mezzo Restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel Futian, Shenzhen (China)
Andrea Assenza, Chef at the Habitu at the Pier Restaurant, Hong Kong, prepare the Risotto in fron of his customers
Andrea Assenza, Chef at the Habitu at the Pier Restaurant, Hong Kong, prepare the Risotto in fron of his customers
Michele Camolei, Osteria Restaurant at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Hong Kong
Michele Camolei, Osteria Restaurant at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Hong Kong
Marino D’Antonio, Sureno Restaurant, Beijing (China) and his staff with Risotto alla Milanese ready to go
Marino D’Antonio, Sureno Restaurant, Beijing (China) and his staff with Risotto alla Milanese ready to go
Frederik Farina, Spasso Restaurant, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Thailand
Frederik Farina, Spasso Restaurant, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Thailand
Giulio Vierci of Giulio’s Wine Bar and Ristorante prepares Risotto alla Milanese in Sapporo (Japan)
Giulio Vierci of Giulio’s Wine Bar and Ristorante prepares Risotto alla Milanese in Sapporo (Japan)
L’onda (the wave) of Armando Capochiani, Venexia Restaurant, Shanghai (China)
L’onda (the wave) of Armando Capochiani, Venexia Restaurant, Shanghai (China)
Antonio Massagli, Scusa Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel, Jakarta (Indonesia)
Antonio Massagli, Scusa Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel, Jakarta (Indonesia)
Olive Beach restaurant, New Delhi (India): Giuliano Tassinari’s Risotto alla  Milanese ready to be served
Olive Beach restaurant, New Delhi (India): Giuliano Tassinari’s Risotto alla Milanese ready to be served

The IDIC was celebrated in the Middle East as well. Mario Musoni, chef and owner of the restaurant Al Pino in Montescano, Pavia, Italy joined Alessandro Dal Zotto, at the Tomato Restaurant, in the Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat, Oman. In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Emanuele Esposito, executive chef of Il Villaggio Resort, not only cooked the risotto alla milanese, but also distributed a leaflet to his customers on which he outlined the history, the recipe and curiosities about the dish.

Mario Musoni (guest chef from Al Pino Restaurant Montescano, Pavia, Italy) and Alessandro Dal Zotto (respectively third and fourth from the left) in the kitchen of Tomato in the Intercontinental Hotel, Muscat (Oman)
Mario Musoni (guest chef from Al Pino Restaurant Montescano, Pavia, Italy) and Alessandro Dal Zotto (respectively third and fourth from the left) in the kitchen of Tomato in the Intercontinental Hotel, Muscat (Oman)
Executive Chef Emanuele Esposito, secondo a destra accovacciato, and his brigade at Il Villaggio, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
Executive Chef Emanuele Esposito, secondo a destra accovacciato, and his brigade at Il Villaggio, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)

Chefs cooking risotto alla Milanese in Asia

Alessandro Colombis, Don Bosco Culinary School, Sihanoukville

Giancarlo Biacchessi, Murano’s
Restaurant, Crowne Plaza Hotel,
Qingdao, China

Giancarlo Biacchessi, Murano’s Restaurant, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Qingdao
Armando Capochiani, Venexia Restaurant, Shanghai
Roberto Cimmino, Mezzo Restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel Futian, Shenzhen
Marino D’Antonio, Sureno Restaurant,Beijing
Giordano Faggioli, Danieli Restaurant, St. Regis, Beijing
Armando Galantucci, Isolabella da Armando Restaurant, Shanghai
Vincenzo Gatti, Prego Restaurant at the Westin Hotel, Beijing
Francesco Greco, Palladio Restaurant at the Portman Ritz -Carlton Hotel, Shanghai
Maurizio Lai, Tutto Pasta Restaurant at the Piazza Italia, Beijing
Angelo Magliaro, Mezzo Restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel Futian, Shenzhen
Marco Mette, Prego Restaurant, Shenzhen
Giovanni Parrella, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Beijing
Vincenzo Pezzilli, Boscolo Restaurant at the Piazza Italia, Beijing
Ruben Rapetti, Pacific Restaurant, Nanjing
Samuele Rossi, Rossio Restaurant at the MGM Hotel, Macao
Jennifer Prescott, Riviera Restaurant, Dalian

Alessandro Angelini, Joia Restaurant, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Andrea Assenza, Habitu at the Pier Restaurant, Hong Kong
Michele Camolei, “Osteria” Restaurant at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Hong Kong
Gianni Caprioli, Isola Restaurant,Hong Kong
Claudio Dieli, Mistral Restaurant at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford Hotel, Hong Kong
Paolo Federici, Va Bene Restaurant, Hong Kong
Vittorio Lucariello, Angelini Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong
Paolo Monti, Gaia Restaurant, Hong Kong
Luca Signoretti, Sabatini Restaurant, Hong Kong


Mario Caramella, Bali Hyatt Hotel, Sanur, Bali
Antonio Massagli, Scusa Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel, Jakarta
Marco Medaglia,Puro Restaurant, Jakarta
Massimo Sacco, Massimo Restaurant, Sanur, Bali
Alessandro Santi, Rosso Restaurant at Shangri-La, Jakarta

Davide Bassan, Aloro Restaurant at the Oterra Hotel, Bangalore
Manuele Chantra, Olive Beach, Bangalore
Max Cotilli, Stella Restaurant, Mumbai
Alex Lenti, Riverside Restaurant, Goa
Thomas Marchi, Hyatt Regency, Kolkata
Giovanna Marson, Prego Restaurant at the Taj Coromandel Hotel, Chennai
Max Orlati, Olive Beach, Mumbai
Giuliano Tassinari, Olive Beach, Delhi
Giuseppe Zanotti, Stax Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Mumbai


Maurizio Roberti, Cinque Sensi Restaurant, Kobe, Hagoromo-Cho Nishinomiya-City, Japan
Maurizio Roberti, Cinque Sensi Restaurant, Kobe, Hagoromo-Cho Nishinomiya-City, Japan
Risotto alla Milanse by Maurizio Roberti, Cinque Sensi Kobe Restaurant, Hagoromo-Cho Nishinomiya-City, Japan
Risotto alla Milanse by Maurizio Roberti, Cinque Sensi Kobe Restaurant, Hagoromo-Cho Nishinomiya-City, Japan

Cristiano Pozzi, Officina di Enrico Restaurant, Omotesando, Tokyo
Maurizio Roberti, Cinque Sensi Kobe Restaurant, Hagoromo-Cho Nishinomiya-City
Andrea Tranchero, Armani Ristorante, Tokio
Giulio Vierci, Wine Bar Giulio Vierci, Sapporo

Valter Gosatti, The Ivy Restaurant, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Alessandro Dal Zotto, Tomato Restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel, Muscat, Oman
Mario Musoni, Al Pino Resturant (Italy) invited at the Tomato Restaurant, Muscat, Oman

Marco Anzani, Anzani & Bellini Restaurant, Cebu City

Roberto Collini, Roberto’s Restaurant, Khobar
Emanuele Esposito, Il Villaggio, Jeddah

Angelo Ciccone, Basilico Restaurant, Singapore
Carlo Marengoni, Bologna Restaurant at the Marina Mandarin, Singapore
Marco Guccio, OTTO Restaurant, Singapore

Sebastiano Giangregorio, Grissini and Via del Sole Restaurants, Seoul
and Grissini Biennale Restaurant,Gwanjiu’
Luca Marchesi, Vinoteca Ristorante “Antonio”, Seoul

Silvano Amolini, La Gritta Resturant, Bangkok
Andreas Bonifacio, Smart Catering, Bangkok
Frederik Farina, Spasso Restaurant, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, Thailand
Gianni Favro, Gianni Restaurant, Bangkok
Luigi Girardin, Lebua The Dome Restaurant, Bangkok
Flavio Manzoni, Il Tartufo Restaurant, Bangkok
Maurizio Menconi, La Scala Restaurant, Bangkok
Gaetano Palumbo, Rossini Restaurant at the Sheraton Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok
Giacomo Turzo, Portofino Restaurant at the Meridian Beach Resort, Phuket
Gianmaria Zanotti, Zanotti Restaurant, Bangkok

Christian Frigo, Primavera Restaurant at the Bahrain Ritz -Carlton Hotel, Bharain
Susy Masetti, Mondo Restaurant at the Raddisson Sas Hotel, Bharain
Andrea Mugavero, Bice Restaurant, Dubai
Roberto Rella, Bice Restaurant, Dubai

Massimiliano Ziano, All’Opera Restaurant, Saigon


IDIC in Europe: De Santis über alles in Germany

Sante de Santis, Er Cuppolone Restaurant, San Pietro Gastro, Stuttgart (germany) tastes his masterpiece
Sante de Santis, Er Cuppolone Restaurant, San Pietro Gastro, Stuttgart (germany) tastes his masterpiece

The celebration of the IDIC by the chefs of Italian restaurants in Europe was as manifold as it was a clear presentation of a cross-section of these professionals. Sante de Santis, in Stuttgart, Germany, had cooked Risotto alla Milanese with his customers at his Er Cuppolone Restaurant, San Pietro Gastro. It was an entertaining way of appreciating the qualities of a risotto, and then, of course, of savouring it. Sante is certainly a great transmitter of the message of authentic Italian cuisine, and not only in Germany.

The IDIC was enthusiastically received and celebrated in Francophone Europe too; Giorgio de Chirico, chef of Findi Restaurant, took part in it in the heart Paris, France, as well as Giulio Freschi who prepared risotto for a reception at the Italian Embassy in the same city; then Francesco Mammola, chef at the European Council Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, transformed 70 kg of high quality Carnaroli into over 300 portions of excellent risotto alla milanese (No pics available; obviously, security will be security).

Fabio Cappellano, Il Tartufo Restaurant, Delft (The Netherlands) prepares Risotto alla Milanese out of his kitchen
Fabio Cappellano, Il Tartufo Restaurant, Delft (The Netherlands) prepares Risotto alla Milanese out of his kitchen

And then further, in the Netherlands, Fabio Cappellani led, from his restaurant il Tartufo in Delft, the celebration in all the restaurants of the Qual-Italia group in the land of the tulips. Guests, journalists and gastronomers had the pleasure of viewing Fabio preparing a risotto in front of them and then, once served, of relishing it.

Maurizio Mosconi
, at his restaurant Italy and Italy, in Ringsted, Denmark, paid particular attention, while cooking the celebration’s risotto, to the broth, which he made with strictly traditional ingredients.

The kitchen of Maurizio Mosconi’s Italy & Italy Restaurant in Ringstead (Denmark) working on the preparation of Risotto
The kitchen of Maurizio Mosconi’s Italy & Italy Restaurant in Ringstead (Denmark) working on the preparation of Risotto
The right ingredients for a flavourful brood (broth) at Maurizio Mosconi’s Italy & Italy Restaurant in Ringstead, Denmark
The right ingredients for a flavourful brood (broth) at Maurizio Mosconi’s Italy & Italy Restaurant in Ringstead, Denmark

Chefs cooking Risotto alla Milanese in Europe

Francesco Mammola, Consiglium Europe, Bruxelles

Cristiano Venturi, at the Osteria Sofia and Lavazza Resturant, Sofia

Maurizio Mosconi, Italy & Italy Restaurant, Ringstead

Michele Martinelli, Private Chef, Suffolk

Giorgio de Chirico, Findi Restaurant, Paris
Giulio Freschi, Chef Embassy of Italy in Paris

Sante de Santis, Er Cuppolone Restaurant, San Pietro Gastro, Stuttgart

Angelo Saracini, Athens
Luigi Favorito, Da donato restaurant. Heraklion, Crete

Gino Razzano, Motor Yacht Benetti SAIRAM , Montecarlo

Fabio Cappellano, Il Tartufo Restaurant, Delft
Giuseppe Cappellano, La Vita e’ Bella Restaurant, Rotterdam
Raffaele Natale, Cucina Italiana Restaurant, Deventer
Saro Pulvirenti, That's Amore Restaurant, Den Haag

Roberto Bendinelli, Podmoskovnie Vechera Restaurant, Moscow
Pietro Rongoni, La Grotta & Fidelio Restaurant, Moscow
Francesco Spampinato, Sky Lounge Restaurant, Ekaterinburg

Teo Chiaravalloti , Resort&Suite Hotel Orselina, Locarno-Orselina, Canton Ticino

Daniel Evangelista, Mezzaluna Restaurant, Ankara
Antonio Lombardi, Mezzaluna Restaurant, Istanbul
Domenico Ranieri, Mezzaluna Restaurant, Izmir


A Day of Culinary pride in Italy

“1000 Risotti alla Milanese” at Macef
(International Home Show): from left,
Rosario Scarpato, Honorary President of GVCI,
Emanuele Lattanzi, GVCI’s Chef of the year
with his Padella d’Argento, and GVCI’s
member Aldo Palaoro, coordinator of the
event at the International Fair of Milano

In Italy, dozens of restaurants participated in the celebration of the IDIC. The initiative was originally to expose and end the proliferation of bogus and counterfeited Italian cuisine abroad but, this year, the 17th January was greeted as the Day of Italian Culinary Pride by the Italians, just as Paolo Marchi wrote in his column in Il Giornale last year.

The participation of restaurants was mainly spontaneous; nevertheless, various organizations put together activities to voice their approval of the initiative.
The city that gave birth to risotto alla milanese was a perfect starting place: the International Fair of Milan, through Macef (the International Home Show) was one of the partners of itchefs-GVCI in the organization of this year’s IDIC. GVCI member, Aldo Palaoro, promoted and coordinated the event 1000 Risotti alla Milanese at Macef, during which this year’s celebration dish was prepared by guest chef Massimo Sola of the Quattro Mori Restaurant, Varese, Italy, in the CHIC restaurant area managed by Savino Vurchio.

Andrea Cristofoletto
Andrea Cristofoletto, La Villa Hotel,
La Villa, Bolzano (Italy)
Albergo Roma in Verbania
The entrange of Albergo Roma in Verbania (Italy), ready for the celebration of 2009 IDIC
Sola & Lattanzi
Massimo Sola, from Quattro Mori restaurant in Varese
(Italy) cooked Risotto at Macef with Emanuele Lattanzi
Emanuele Lattanzi
Emanuele Lattanzi, GVCI’s Chef of the year, eats
his well deserved Risotto at “1000 Risotti at Macef”

Also during this event, Emanuele Lattanzi, the chef who acted with such extraordinary bravery during the terrorist attack on his hotel, the Hotel Oberoy in Mumbai, on November 2008, was awarded the Padella d’Argento (the Silver Pan) as GVCI Chef of the Year.

Padella d'Argento (Silver Pan)
The GVCI’S Chef of the year
Padella d’Argento (Silver Pan)

Emanuele, who also participated in the cooking of risotto, was handed the Pan by Rosario Scarpato, honorary president of GVCI and Enrico Piazza, the manufacturer and sponsor of the Padella. Present were GVCI veteran, Marisa Avalis, and Nello Martini, Macef Project manager.

Padella d'Argento (Silver Pan)
Emanuele Lattanzi is awarded the 2008 Padella d’argento
(Silver Pan) as GVCI’s Chef of the year. From left: Marisa Avalis,
Rosario Scarpato, Emanuele Lattanzi, Enrico Piazza,
manufacturer of the pan, and Nello Martini,
Macef International Home Show Project manager

In Milan was Italy’s highest concentration of chefs participating in the IDIC, thanks to Giallo Milano, another partner of itchefs-GVCI in the organization of the celebration.

Giallo Milano organises an annual competition for the best risotto alla milanese and on this occasion promoted the participation of Milan restaurants in the GVCI risotto ola. “Traditional and contemporary restaurants joined the celebration of IDIC, including practically all the establishments sporting Michelin stars in the region”, says Saverio Paffumi, editor in chief of Ristorarte magazine and Giallo Milano spokesperson.

On 17.01.2009, at the Restaurant Brellin In Milan,
Giallo Milano awarded the best Risotto alla Milanese,
according to a Popular Jury. From left Alessandro Rimoldi,
chef of Brellin; Rosario Scarpato, GVCI Honorary President,
Gianpietro Tagliabue, chef of Il Ritrovo di Ozzero, Valeria
Randazzo, Andrea Sconfienza chef of Antica Trattora Morivione,
Susanna Amerigo, Saverio Paffumi, Ristorarte editor, Andrea
Bevilacqua chef of Antica Trattoria Bagutto and Luca Gaggioli

Rome was the stage for two exceptional IDIC events. One was promoted by Stefano Bonilli, former editor of Gambero Rosso and currently curator of the blog Papero Giallo, at The Open Colonna.

Open Colonna restaurant
Rome (Italy), Open Colonna restaurant,
where Stefano Bonilli organised
the Risotto Day function

Bonilli has been a determined supporter of GVCI and IDIC since their beginning. The Open Colonna featured risotto prepared by Stefano Preli, Chef of the Open Colonna, Danilo Ciavattini, Pipero Restaurant, Albano Laziale; Maurizio Santin, Cuoco Nero Restaurant, Rome; Massimiliano Mariola, Rai Sat Gambero Rosso, Rome, and Massimiliano Sepe, Casa Catullo Restaurant, Fondi (Lt).

Stefano Bonilli’s Risotto Day
Stefano Bonilli’s Risotto Day
at the Open Colonna, Rome (Italy)

The other Roman celebration of note was organised by food writer and gastronome Luigi Cremona, a long time GVCI member and friend, at the Hotel Hassler, where Emanuele Lattanzi, the GVCI chef of the year worked before going to Mumbai. The risotto on this occasion was cooked by Francesco Apreda, executive chef of the hotel and Emanuele’s mentor, in the in-house restaurant Imago.

Luigi Cremona and Roberto Wirt
Luigi Cremona and
Roberto Wirt, theowner of the
Hassler Hotel in Rome, Italy

“It was a night dedicated to Emanuele”, says Lorenza Vitali, tireless coordinator of the event, in which three GVCI chefs took part via telephonic link, Roberto Bendinelli from Moscow, Gaetano Ascione from Miami and Giovanni Grasso of La Credenza, San Maurizio Canavese, Turin, who was in New York City, where he had taken part in the launch of the IDIC 2009.

Francesco Apreda
Francesco Apreda, Hotel Hassler
Rome Executive Chef, cooks Risotto
alla Milanese in the kitchen
of the Imago Restaurant

Furthermore, Pasquale Porcelli, another respected Italian gastronomer and food and wine journalist, organised a special risotto alla milanese night in the southern region of Puglia, at the Fornello da Ricci, Ceglie di messapico (Brindisi).

Last but not least, on 17th January the entire Ferrari Formula 1 team in the Mugello valley ate risotto alla milanese, as well, cooked by Gianfelice Guerrini, the team’s globetrotting executive chef and long time GVCI member. And the celebrations of Risotto alla Milanese in many restaurants lasted until the end of January. On the 31st, Giacomo Gallina, GVCI Vice-President, cooked risotto in Basilicagoiano, Parma, at the Azienda Agricola Bonati of Gianluca Bonati, a renowned producer of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Risotto alla Milanese night
Food and wine writer Pasquale Porcelli (first from left)
organised a fantastic Risotto alla Milanese night at
Fornello da Ricci, in Ceglie Messapica (Brindisi, Italy)
Giacomo Gallina
Giacomo Gallina at Azienda Agricola Bonati
in Basilicagoiano (Parma Italy) for the
preparation of a Risotto alla Milanese

Chefs cooking Risotto alla Milanese in Italy

Giorgio Broggini, L’Altro sul Naviglio Osteria di Porta Cicca, Milano
Nicola Cavallaro, Al San Cristoforo Restaurant, Milano
Andrea Cristofoletto, La Villa Hotel, La Villa (BZ)
Alessandro Da Como, Gand Hotel Della Posta, Sondrio
Angelo Franchini, Torre del Monte Residence, Todi (PG)
Mario Fraschini, La Vineria Restaurant, Brescia
Filippo Gozzoli, Park Hyatt Hotel Milano, Milano
Gianfelice Guerrini, Chef Ferrari F.1 Team, Maranello
Aldo Palaoro and Stefano Dal Ry, La Pesa Restaurant. Verbania (VB)
Fabio Peiti, Milio Restaurant at the Lac Salin SPA Hotel and Mountain Resort, Livigno (SO)
Andrea Pini, L'Ustareja di Du Buto' Restaurant, Solarolo, (RA)
Daniele Priori, Moma Restaurant, Roma
Alfredo Russo, Dolce Stil Novo Restaurant, Venaria Reale, (TO)
Massimiliano Sepe, Casa Catullo Resturant, Fondi (LT)
Massimiliano Telloli, Osteria Stallo del Pomodoro, Modena
Gabriele Torretto, La valle Restaurant and Circolo dei Lettori Torino Restaurant, Turin
Carlo e Jennifer Bigi , Il Tegolaio Restaurant, Firenze)
Piero Pulli, Il Canonico Restaurant, Carignano (TO)
Leonardo Russi, Zerodue Restaurant, Milano
Christian e Manuel Costardi, Hotel Cinzia, Vercelli
Dorina Chionna, Gianni & Dorina Il Pontremolese, Milano
Marco Dallabona, Stella D’ Oro Restaurant, Soragna, (PR)
Emanuele Gnemmi and Riccardo Milan, Roma Restaurant, Oleggio (NO)
Pasquale Porcelli Organises a Risotto Alla Milanese night at Fornello da Ricci Restaurant,
Ceglie Messapica, (BR)
Francesco Sacco, Al Pugnalone Restaurant, Acquapendente, (VT)
Matteo Scibilia, Osteria Della Buona Condotta, Ornago, Monza
Simone Suardi, Taverna del Sacripante, Milano
Roberto Dante Vincenzi, Antica Trattoria "La botte piena e... il polpo ubriaco", Gazzaniga, (BG)

Luigi Cremona, Lorenza Vitali and Francesco Apreda Chef, Imago Restaurant at Hassler Hotel, Rome

Chefs Luciano Tona, Christian Broglia and the students of ALMA, The International school of Italian Cuisine, Colorno [Parma], cooked Risotto alla Milanese on Friday 16 [The School is closed on Saturdays]

Savino Vurchio and Massimo Sola Chef of Quattro Mori Varese invited to Chic Lounge Macef
for 1000 Risotti al MACEF (MI)

Risotto Day by Stefano Bonilli at Open Colonna Restaurant , Rome whit the chefs:
Stefano Preli, Chef of the Open Colonna; Danilo Ciavattini,Pipero Restaurant, Albano Laziale; Maurizio Santin, Cuoco Nero Restaurant, Rome; Massimiliano Mariola, Rai Sat Gambero Rosso, Rome

* Group of adhesions promoted by Giallo Milano: (
* Carlo Cracco, Cracco Peck restaurant, Milano
* Pietro Leeman, Joia Restaurant, Milano
* Davide Oldani, D'O Restaurant, Cornaredo / San Pietro all'Olmo (MI)
* Gaetano Simonato, Tano passami l'olio Restaurant, Milano
* Sergio Mei, Four Season Hotel, Milano
* Lino Gagliardi, Antica osteria la rampina, San Giuliano milanese (MI)
* Luca Possanzini, Osteria nuova, San Giuliano milanese (MI)
* Roberto Fontana, Trattoria Casa Fontana 23 risotti, Milano
* Giovanni Mooney, L'ulmet Restaurant, Milano
* Luigi Moretti, Duke restaurant Lounge bar, Milano
* Andrea Bevilacqua, Antica Trattoria Bagutto, Milano
* Giorgio Ziliani, Il Torchietto Restaurant, Milano
* Giancarlo Morelli, Osteria del Pomiroeu, Seregno (MI)
* Antonella Varese, La locanda degli elfi, Ripalta Arpina (CR)
* Manuel Lezzoli, Osteria del riccio, Sesto San Giovanni (MI)
* Silvano Ghezzi, La pesa di via Fantoni Restaurant, Milano
* Fabrizio Cadei, Acanto Restaurant at Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milano
* Alessandro Rimoldi, El brellin Restaurant, Milano
* Daniele Armila, Al V piano Restaurant, Grand hotel Visconti Palace, Milano
* Fabio Borgonovo, Villa Giavazzi, Verdello (BG)
* Cristina Chiusano, Maglio Restaurant Cucina suoni e Parole, Sesto San Giovanni (MI)
* Eros Picco, Innocenti Evasioni Restaurant, Milano
* Alex , Arco del Re Restaurant, Arcore (MI)
* Donato di Giuseppe, Blue Note Restaurant, Milano
* Claudio Sadler, Sadler Restaurant, Milano
* Claudio Sadler, Chic’n Quick Restaurant, Milano
* Aimo and Nadia Moroni, Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia Restaurant,Milano
* Andrea Sconfienza, Antica Trattoria Morivione, Milano
* Giampietro Tagliabue, Il Ritrovo Restaurant, Ozzero (MI)
* Ezio Santin, Antica Osteria del Ponte, Cassinetta di Lugagnano (MI)
* Alberto Meggiorin, La Piola Restaurant, Milano
* Andrea Berton, Trussardi alla Scala Restaurant, Milano


Oceania, where the ola of risotto alla milanese begun, and Africa

Gianmaria Morelli (centre) of Palato Gelato cooking Risotto alla Milanese for an unforgettable celebration at Noosa (Australia)
Gianmaria Morelli (centre) of Palato Gelato cooking Risotto alla Milanese for an unforgettable celebration at Noosa (Australia)

After the preview in New York City, the ola of risotto alla milanese, given the time zone of the country, started with Paolo Pancotti, chef at the Milk and Honey Restaurant, Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, at lunchtime.

Paolo Pancotti, Milk and Honey Restaurant, Napier, Hawkes’s Bay, New Zealand
Paolo Pancotti, Milk and Honey Restaurant, Napier, Hawkes’s Bay, New Zealand

This was then followed by a great Australian celebration in Noosa, Queensland, where Gianmaria and Natalie Morelli of the Palato Gelato repeated the brilliant success of last year.

Finally this ola of risotto alla milanese, being a global ola, also hit this continent. Giorgio Nava in Capetown, South Africa participated as, on the island of Mauritius, did Stefano Fontanesi, who prepared his genuine risotto alla milanese in homage to Gualtiero Marchesi and his famous dish Riso con Zafferano e Oro – Rice with Saffron and Gold. Stefano’s variation used silver instead.

As mentioned above, record keeping has proved to be particularly difficult this year. For this reason, only a handful of the events are mentioned here. To all other participants, professionals, amateur and home cooks and guests and family, not mentioned here or not know to GVCI, but not forgotten: Viva the International Day of Italian Cuisines! Down with bogus imitations trying to sell themselves Italian Cuisine!

Stefano Fontanesi, Saveur des Iles Resturant at the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & SPA, Le Morne Peninsula, Mauritius
Stefano Fontanesi, Saveur des Iles Resturant at the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & SPA, Le Morne Peninsula, Mauritius

The International Day of Italian Cuisines has been possible thanks to support of many people and companies. Rosario Scarpato, Managing editor wants to thank the sponsors, partners and supporters and particularly Elena Ruocco, itchefs Event coordinator, Cesare Casella, Dean of Italian Culinary Academy – New York, his assistant Nastassia Lopes, Tara Hill of the International Culinary Insitute New York, Mark Ladner, Executive Chef of Del Posto New York, Samuele Rossi, Executive Sous Chef MGM Hotel Macau, the extraordinary Aldo Palaoro and Stefano del Ry (Milan), Saverio Paffumi (Ristorarte), Roberto Bava (Bava Winery), all the contributors to this web site. Grazie!

Chefs cooking Risotto alla Milanese in Oceania

Gianmaria Morelli, Palato Gelato, Noosa

Paolo Pancotti, Milk and Honey Restaurant, Napier, Hawkes’s Bay


Vincenzo Guglielmi, Bella Vista Restaurant at the Baron and Palm Resort, Sharm El Sheikh

Stefano Fontanesi, Saveur des Iles Resturant at the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & SPA, Le Morne Peninsula
Alessandro Morino, La Palma Restaurant at the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & SPA, Le Morne
Matteo Franchini, Brezza Restaurant at the Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa

Giorgio Nava, 95 Keerom Restaurant, Cape Town


IDIC 2009: a clear goal and a positive balance

By Rosario Scarpato

The recent celebration of the International Day of Italian Cuisines (IDIC) in almost 100 cities around the world the past 17th January leaves different points to be considered. The 300 chefs and restaurants of the GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs) that glued themselves to the preparation of a genuine Risotto alla Milanese, not only decreed the success of the initiative but also gave testimony that, at whichever longitude and latitude, there is a great desire for authentic and quality Italian wining and dining. Everywhere, the public’s participation was enthusiastic. Many restaurateurs, excited by the pleasure expressed by so many of their guests offered a free taste of Risotto alla Milanese to everybody.

Furthermore, seen purely from the point of view of marketing, the IDIC demonstrated that a promotional activity coordinated and carried out directly by professionals of the sector, chefs, restaurateurs and the itchefs-GVCI promoters, although done with the tightest of means, pays off much more than the hundreds of fragmentary (and often million-dollar) initiatives managed by unprepared personnel. However, the International Day of Italian Cuisines is today first and foremost a cultural movement, and then and only then a commercial one. Defending Italian oenogastronomy worldwide from supposedly Italian fakes is not a neoprotectionist reaction. Instead, it is preserving a legitimate advantage Italy has on the market, as well as both guaranteeing the consumers in every country the right to receive the products they pay for and contributing to maintaining the pleasure of culinary diversity in the world.
For Italian chefs and restaurateurs worldwide, not only those of the GVCI, the IDIC is a way of elevating their profile and of promoting a product, their Italian cuisine that is, that gives them their exclusivity.
This year’s success lets us hope that the next International Day of Italian Cuisines, the one of 2010, may turn out to be the biggest promotional event of Italian oenogastronomy in the world.


Great chefs and their risotto alla milanese

Here’s how the International Day of Italian Cuisines was celebrated all around the world.


A World in yellow

Watch the Gallery of people enjoying Risotto alla Milanese all around the world


Media Coverage

The 2009 International Day of Italian Cuisines received some very satisfactory media coverage. It has been practically impossible to track down all the media, especially those online, that gave account of the event. But the following list includes a direct link to some of them.

In Italian

Corriere della Sera 17 January 2009 (pdf version)
La Repubblica 14 January 2009 (pdf version)
Il Giornale 04.01.09 (
Il Giornale 17.01.09 (
L’Espresso Kata Web (
Wine News (

RAI TG1 17 January 2009 h. 20.30 (
RAI TG2 17 January 2009 h. 20.00 (link not available)
RAI TG3 LOMBARDIA 17 January 2009 h. 19.00 (link not available)
STUDIO APERTO 17 January 2009 h. 18.30 (link not available)
TG5 17 January 2009 h. 20.30 (link not available)
Radio Marconi (audio file)
LA PROVINCIA DI SONDRIO 18-01-2009 (pdf version)
L’Acqua Buona (’open-colonna/)
Agroalimentare News (
Altissimo Ceto (
A Ruota Libera di Liborio Butera (
ASA (Ass. Stampa Agroalimentare Italiana) (
Chef di Cucina Magazine (
Cronache Maceratesi (
Enopress (
Forum Ristoratori italiani (
Ginger & Tomato (
Golosamente Maurizio Santin (
Gusti & Gusto (
Sottocoperta (
Guide Super Eva (
Spazio di Staximo ( 099f1251da4bf0c30fe8656b7882952e)
Siracusa News (
Turismo in Italia (
Bravo Cook (
Italia chiama Italia (
Food & Co Andrea Graziano (
Informacibo 17.01.09 (
Informacibo 18.01.09 (
Informacibo 18.01.09 (
Italfood Market (
Italia a Tavola 08.01.09 (
Italia a Tavola 21.01.09 (
L’altra Italia (
Il Maglio (
Mamma che buono (
Mangia e abbina (
Massimo (
Milanodabere (
ONAV Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori di Vino (
NewsEnews (
Newsfood (
Papero Giallo (
Danilossur (

In English

South China Morning Post 16.01.2009 ( 11f5b7f8a66c2b30&mt=application%2Fpdf)
Hong Kong Clubbing ( Celebrate_International_Day_of_Italian_Cuisines_.html)
The Tony Mangia show Radio WP 88.7 FM ( 121640995601&h=x77CB&u=q-jvz)
InTown Mix Dallas (pdf version)
Italian American Girl (
Food Network Fans (
Suite 101 ( and_risotto_milanese_event)
Italian Made (
Plannerwire (
Red Inside (
Press Release (
Xing (

In other languages

Italianos de Argentina (
Communiqué de Presse (
Le Chef (
Ile de France (
De Volkskrant (