Plate Stories: Davide Oldani’s Saffron Risotto

One surprising ingredient in making the perfect risotto is 'time' – a whole year to be exact.
Quality renditions of pizza and pasta has been seeing a renaissance in Singapore of late but another Italian classic, the risotto hasn’t yet had its moment in the sun.

Not if chef Davide Oldani can help it.

The man is behind one-Michelin-starred D’O in the outskirts of Milan – a 13-year-old restaurant where the approach to fine dining is to make it accessible. Since late last year, he has also opened Foo’d by Davide Oldani at Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall where one of his specialties is the risotto.

But think this is your ordinary run-of-the-mill risotto and you’d be mistaken. For starters, only carnaroli rice that’s been aged for an entire year is used.

“We discovered that aged rice is one of the most important keys of making risotto,” says Oldani. “When you cook it, the result is al dente – the real Italian style.”

Here’s the science behind it: when rice is aged, the lipids in the grains release fatty acids while natural sugars increase. In this process, the rice also hardens which naturally means it takes a longer time to absorb the liquids. The result? A dish where each creamy spoonful comes with a generous bite.

For Oldani, the saffron risotto is made with just rice, water, grana padano, butter, with a touch of vinegar and lemon zest topped with a swirl of saffron infusion.

We catch up with the man himself when he was in town and he takes us through the intricacies of making this classic.

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