Saffron Risotto

DSC 0052 3 500x746 Saffron Risotto

Risotto is to osso bucco as Robin is to Batman. The ultimate sidekick. This traditional Italian grain with its creamy texture, is such a delicious accompaniment to the meatiness of the braised veal shanks.

When we first attempted to make risotto, we must have over estimated the instructions to “keep stirring”. For thirty minutes he stood guard over the stove and used sheer muscle power to follow the cooking instructions, refusing to take a break for the entire duration. Considering the disparity between our muscle size, I was sure I’d never be able to make risotto without his help. Asking me to “keep stirring” for thirty minutes is just unreasonable and my puny biceps would surely fail the task.
DSC 00311 499x334 Saffron Risotto

The great thing about humans is the ability to learn from our mistakes, make corrections and evolve. Our technique has improved since then and I am now able to prepare risotto in the kitchen while he geeks around on our computer to clean up after my html bloopers on this blog. Ironic thing is, I’m perfectly capable of learning from my cooking mishaps but sadly, I will never evolve from my computer illiteracy. But then again, that’s why we have each other.


1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup diced onion
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1 large portabello, sliced in 1-in. strips
a pinch of saffron threads
salt & pepper
  1. In a medium pot, lightly saute onions with olive oil and butter until translucent. Do not brown the onions. Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the saffron threads to the broth. Keep the broth warm. After the onions are done add the arborio rice, thoroughly coat the grains and saute for 5-7 minutes. This toasting process will help the rice from getting too soggy when we add the liquid.
  2. Next, add the wine and stir. Once the liquid has almost evaporated completely, slowly add the warm chicken broth in 1/2-cup increments, stir a little and wait for the liquid to absorb. Once it is almost absorbed, add more chicken broth and repeat the process until you’re out of broth. You don’t need to stir the risotto constantly but do make sure that the rice does not stick to the pan.
  3. During the process of adding chicken broth, multitask and in a separate skillet, saute the portabello mushrooms. Set aside and keep warm. Once the broth is almost completely absorbed stir in the parmesan cheese and mushrooms. For a creamier texture, add a little more butter. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese. Makes 4 side portions of risotto.

8 Responses to “Saffron Risotto”

  • Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    This recipe looks stellar! I know what you mean about the constant stirring. I love saffron!

  • Joy Says:

    we are on the same culinary brainwaves again — I just bought saffron from a local indian market this weekend because I have never tried cooking with it. What a wonderful recipe to break in my saffron virginity :)

  • Dhale Says:

    @Christine: Yeah, risotto-stirring can be a bit of a problem for us girls. So glad I realized it wasn’t that serious to stir NON-STOP!

    @Joy: Oh my! Good luck losing your saffron virginity… are you gonna wait for prom night? Lol 😉 P.S. – I have another recipe posted using saffron, “Moules Frites” and it’s yummy and super easy. Let me know how your adventure goes!

  • Joy Says:

    Hee hee hee!!! OOO i will def try that recipe — I’ll let you know how it goes, thanks you rock 😀

  • elizabeth Says:

    I love risotto Milanese–which is what you made here, with the addition of mushrooms (another one of my favorite risotto accompaniments)!

    Needless to say, I very much enjoy your take on it here. :-)

  • Dhale Says:

    @Elizabeth: Wow! I never knew it was called risotto Milanese. The Italian restaurant I used to work at always served saffron risotto but they never even referred to it that way. See, you learn something new everyday. Thanks! And glad you stopped by!

  • Larry Says:

    Hi Dhale,
    Great, classic recipe. Try a handful of chopped arugula toward the end of the process too. I also prefer shallots to onions, but that’s just me.
    I had a dinner party a couple months ago and one of my guests (friend from massage school) kind of coyly snuck into the kitchen and said “would you mind if I watched you cook the risotto?” It seems like it’s a big mystery, and like most dishes is actually fun and easy once you attack it!
    Good blog, keep it up!

    Happy Holidays.

  • Dhale Says:

    @Larry: I also prefer shallots but I always find myself running out of them at home but with a surplus of the yellow ones! It hasn’t been a huge taste difference for me when it comes to the saffron risotto recipe so I like to interchange the two. But I totally agree with you, people think risotto is so difficult but most recipes are quite simple once you have the courage to tackle them.

    Thanks for dropping by and happy blogging :)

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