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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Nonna Luna's "Bitter Rice" (Risotto Alla Milanese With Radicchio)

Inspired by my Nonna's love of rice, and the first film she ever starred in - Bitter Rice! Saffron in risotto is popular in Milan, making this a spin on risotto alla Milanese.

I added radicchio to give it that slightly bitter flavor, and sweet cranberries to balance it out - it gives it a great contrast of color, too.

bitter rice

Nonna Luna's Bitter Rice


Side Dish

Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

35 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Nonna Luna's Bitter Rice



  1. As seen on: Giada In Italy, Episode 2. Nonna Luna's Secret: Entice with Rice
  2. Place a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil, shallots, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the shallots are soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and saffron and stir to combine and to coat the rice in the flavorful oil. Toast the rice for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the white wine to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid is absorbed. When the wine is absorbed, reduce the heat to medium-low and begin adding the broth 3/4 cup at a time, stirring often between additions (to release the starches) and waiting until the broth is almost entirely absorbed before incorporating the next addition.
  3. This will take about 20 minutes total.When the last addition is almost absorbed but there's still a thick liquid surrounding the rice, stir in the Parmesan, cranberries, butter, radicchio, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir until the cheese and butter are melted and the radicchio is wilted. The mixture should still have movement and not be too stiff, add a bit more broth as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Serve with additional grated Parmesan if desired.



per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
54 grams
20 grams
33 grams
Saturated Fat
15 grams
56 milligrams
647 milligrams
2 grams
8 grams
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2 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image

    You're not crazy! Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It's the stamen of crocuses. Costco sells a stoppered bottle of saffron that contains about a tablespoon of it, so for 1/4 tsp you'd only need a small pinch of that tablespoon.

  • Author's avatar image
    Scott Reed

    So, call me crazy, but when I've seen saffron for sale in the store, there are usually a few strands of saffron in a small bottle. To get enough strands to fill a 1/4 of a teaspoon, it's going to take me a few bottles to do that with. Am I missing something? At that cost, we're looking to spend $50+ for this dish. Correct me if I'm missing something. Thanks

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