A crossroads for travellers and a most-wanted target for transalpine incursions by surrounding powers, Milan’s history strongly reflects in its traditional dishes. Its gastronomic tradition is full of flavour and quite heavy, but extremely fulfilling. And now, enjoy your meal or, how they say in Milan, bòn apetitt!
Risotto alla milanese
A rather simple risotto with the addition of saffron and bone marrow. Its invention is said to date back to 1574, when an apprentice artist, known as Saffron due to his habit of adding the spice to his colours to make them more vibrant, decided to apply the same technique to his master’s risotto during a wedding. What was supposed to be a joke turned out to be a culinary success.
Cotoletta alla milanese
This tasty and crunchy dish is made by coating a thick, bone-in veal rib with breadcrumbs and egg and frying it in butter. By cutting the meat in half horizontally, leaving the bone in the middle, it opens up to a wide and flat cut which is known as the Orecchia d’Elefante (Elephant’s ear). Usually served with fried or baked potatoes, this is a mouth-watering culinary staple.
The òss bus (in Milanese dialect) is a medallion of cross-cut veal shank, braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. The marrow bone is the part that gives this dish its specific taste and it became a very popular delicacy among the North Italian noble class in the 18th century. Usually served with risotto or polenta, it comes with a parsley, garlic and lemon zest garnish called gremolata.
A true delight for those who have a sweet tooth, Panettone is a buttery, eggy bread to which sultanas and candied fruits are added. If properly made the texture is like a sweet, melting cloud and makes a wonderful serving with eggnog or hot chocolate. Typically served over Christmas, it can be a cause of family disputes amongst those who refuse to eat dried fruits and those who love them. No fear though, in case you are of the first party, the chocolate version is equally - if not more - delicious!
Getting its name from the casserole pan it’s typically made in, this filling and warming stew is a pork and savoy cabbage-based dish. Using almost every part of the pig, it brings together strong flavours and is a perfect winter warmer.