Saffron Risotto

by angelika on March 7, 2012

It was a risotto kind of night, and I decided to make the most traditional risotto of all. Saffron risotto. I love the warm golden color saffron imparts, it reminds me of the robes monks wore in India. The flavor is subtle but exotic, earthy and almost floral at the same time. If you have never tried saffron this is a great introductory dish. You don’t have to use too much, because let’s be honest, it costs a fortune! I guess it takes a lot of flowers to make a pinch of saffron, since it is only the stamens that are used. The thing about a dish like this, it’s almost like a vacation in a meal, and I have been having some serious wanderlust lately. I keep trying to convince Mr Fabulous to pack up the family and move to some foreign and exotic locale. So far he isn’t biting, so travel via supper it is. 
Saffron Risotto
2 tablespoons butter 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
stock:
5 cups water 
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
1 carrot, halved
1 celery stalk, halved
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup broth
1 pinch saffron threads
finishing:
salt to taste- I used 1 1/2 teaspoons
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
In a stock pot add celery, carrot, onion and garlic to 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce low and let it simmer, covered for about 30 minutes before you need to use it. 
Place the saffron threads in a ladle full of hot water and set aside.
In a large pan or stock pot heat the oil and butter on medium.  Saute the onions until they are translucent. Add the rice and saute until you see a dark white fleck in the middle of the rice. About 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until the alcohol smell evaporates. Add the saffron broth and stir. 

Continue adding a ladle full of stock at a time, and stirring often, until the risotto is cooked through. I usually wait about 3 -5 minutes in between ladles of stock. Just when you can part the risotto with a spoon and it does not instantly meld back together. Keep doing this until you have a creamy risotto, with a little bite in the middle of the grain. It’s usually about 20 minutes from the first ladle of stock until it is done. 
Add the salt and stir. I used a liberal amont as there was no salt in my stock. If you use packaged stock you will need much less. I finished the risotto with a pat of butter and some parmesan cheese. If you want to make this vegan you can leave that part out completely, and it still tastes divine. You can also drizzle some olive oil over top for a little richness, but be careful not to use a strong olive oil, which might overpower the saffron. 
A votre santé! 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Grandma Wendy March 7, 2012 at 5:31 am

Hey, guess what we planted this past summer–and harvested in the fall? Saffron, Baby! Of course, we harvested enough for about 1/3 of your recipe. We're gonna need a bigger patch (of fall blooming crocus!)

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