We served this traditional dish from Milan with vongole (clams) as they are widely found on the Ligurian coast.


Skill level

Average: 3.5 (18 votes)


  • 2 large beef marrow bones (see Note)
  • 1 tsp (about 1 pack) saffron threads
  • 1 litre good-quality veal or chicken stock
  • 80 g butter, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 500 g carnaroli (see Note) or arborio rice
  • 40 g (½ cup) grated parmesan, plus extra, to serve
  • roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley and steamed clams (optional), to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Using a small knife, remove marrow from bones. Finely chop and set aside.

Soak saffron in 2 tbsp hot water for 5 minutes. Using the back of a spoon, press saffron against bowl to release as much colour as possible.

Bring stock and 375ml water to the boil. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Melt 20g butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add marrow and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until melted. Add onion and reduce heat to low. Cook for a further 4 minutes or until softened. Stir in rice and cook for a further 4 minutes or until rice starts to become translucent.

Add a ladleful of stock and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until stock is absorbed. Add remaining stock and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes. Stir in saffron mixture and cook for 5 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and rice is al dente. Stir in remaining 60g butter and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, top with parsley and extra parmesan, and serve with clams, if desired.


Marrow bones are from butchers and are cut from the part of the bone with the most marrow.

Carnaroli, from delis and specialist food shops, is a risotto rice with short grains that produces a very creamy result.

Drink 2010 Taminick Cellars 1919 Series Trebbiano, Glenrowan ($14)

As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 9, pg84.

Photography by John Laurie.