Braised Lamb with Risotto alla Milanese

After an amazing amount of research into a good Secondo Piatto I found this recipe for Braised Lamb with juniper berries, fennel, and sage. Every single ingredient in this dish made me think of Rome. I knew it would be perfect – and what better accompaniment than a risotto? We have lots of saffron and I found this recipe for risotto alla milanese which uses saffron and bone marrow (ideally veal, but in this case I knew I’d have lamb on the bone so we used the marrow from the lamb shanks). It. was. to. die. for.

The dish altogether is extremely rich so small portions are in order but ever bite is heavenly, and doesn’t overwhelm any of the other dishes on the menu.

Read on for the recipes and photos…

Agnello Brasato Ingredients

Serves 4 (at least!)

1 1/2 cups dry red wine

Two 1 1/2 pound lamb shanks

Salt & Freshly ground pepper

Olive Oil

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (2 1/2 cups)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped celery (about 1 stalk)

2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

10 juniper berries, finely crushed with a mortar and pestle (we couldn’t find fresh ones – we used about 7 dry ones ground. Not the same as fresh but still an amazing flavor)

1/2 tsp fennel seeds, finely ground with a mortar and pestle

2 tbsp tomato paste


2 bay leaves

Juice of a 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Bring wine to boil in a sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer until wine has reduced to 3/4 cup (~ 7 to 10 minutes). Set aside.
  • Pat lamb shanks dry and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the pot.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer, add the lamb and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

  • Reduce heat to medium and saute onions with a little salt until just softened (5 – 7 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add garlic, celery, sage, juniper berries, and fennel seeds and cook another 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add wine, 3/4 cup water, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Stir, scraping up browned bits.
  • Return lamb to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat, cover, and place in the oven. Braise for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cut meat off of the bone. Braise for another 45 minutes.
  • Finish cooking on the stove top over low heat for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with parsley on the risotto.

Risotto alla Milanese

Serves 6

1/2  cup unsalted butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 oz. bone marrow (take it out of the lamb shanks before braising them)

1/2 cup dry white wine

6 – 7 cups boiling beef broth

Salt to taste

Good-size pinch of saffron threads, powdered in a mortar and steeped in 3 tbsp warm water

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1 cups arborio rice


  • In a large, heave saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter and cook the shallot and bone marrow together over medium until transparent (7 to 8 minutes), stirring frequently.
  • Pour in wine and continue cooking until the wine is nearly evaporated.
  • Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring evenly to coat the grains.
  • Add 1 cup of the boiling broth, season with salt, and stir.
  • Once the liquid evaporates, pour in another 1/2 cup of broth. Continue adding broth in small amounts as it evaporates and is absorbed. Cook until the rice is between al dente and tender, stirring almost constantly (that parts fun during a 4 course meal, lemme tell ya!).
  • A few minutes before the rice is done, add the diluted saffron and stir.
  • Add the remaining 1/4 cup of butter and cheese and stir.
  • Cover and leave the risotto for 5 minutes before serving.
  • If you were eating this plain you could serve it with more Parmigiano – but with the lamb, it needs nothing else. Delicious!

3 Responses to “Braised Lamb with Risotto alla Milanese”
  1. Pam says:

    HOLY SHIT! I’m gonna have to kill you cause this ain’t right!

  2. chefsayan says:

    Well its quite good.try it out with gramolata.

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