Northern Italy has a climate that can be a lot cooler than the southern regions and this is reflected in the cuisine. Northern Italy has a climate that can be a lot cooler than the southern regions and this is reflected in the cuisine. Running through Lombardy is the valley of Italy’s great river, the Po, and on the floodplain are the fields producing arborio and carnaroli rice for that most Italian of dishes, risotto. A rich and luxurious risotto is named after the capital of Lombardy, risotto alla Milanese. It is made with two expensive ingredients, saffron and parmesan, which reflect the wealth of this, the richest of Italian regions.
Also bearing the name of the capital, cotoletta alla Milanese is a flattened veal cutlet that is brushed with egg and dipped in breadcrumbs before being fried in clarified butter. A deeply satisfying dish, especially on a cold day, it is no surprise that the idea was copied by the Austrians and rechristened schnitzel.
The final eponymous dish is also a winter warmer. Ossobuco alla Milanese is a wonderful stew made with veal shank in a white wine sauce with vegetables and mushrooms, sometimes served with a gremolata made from olive oil, lemon zest, garlic and flat leaf parsley.
Last on this whistle-stop tour, try mostarda di frutta which is basically candied fruit in a mustard sauce. It may sound a little left field but it is delicious with cold ham or cheese.