Monday, 18 April 2011

Saffron Risotto

Saffron... one of the most expensive of all spices. But fortunately saffron only needs to be used in very small quantities. To be honest, I'm not too sure how to describe the flavour of saffron. Does it really have a taste? I think it's just a gorgeous (again, expensive) food dye. A little saffron threads will give a dish beautiful golden yellow colour.

The recipe below suppose to serves 2, but I managed to gulp it all. There are 3 possible reasons: maybe because I was starving or maybe because the risotto was super delicious or... maybe I'm just greedy. I'm almost sure it's the second one.

Saffron Risotto
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
Serves 2 as a main course (with some left over) or 4 as a starter or side dish

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, preferably organic
1 x 0.4 g packet saffron threads (about 1 teaspoon)
50 g butter, plus 1 tablespoon
1 x 15 ml tablespoon olive oil
50 g shallots, finely chopped or 1/2 onion, finely chopped
250 g risotto rice
125 ml dry marsala
4 x 15 ml tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the stock in a saucepan, add the saffron threads and put over the lowest heat just to keep it warm. Melt the butter with olive oil in a wide, shallow, heavy-based saucepan over a low to medium heat, add the chopped shallots (or onion) and cook for a couple of minutes or so, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until softened.

Add the risotto rice and keep stirring for a minute or so, then turn up the heat and add the marsala - which will bubble up excitedly - stirring until it is absorbed.

Start ladling in the hot, golden, saffron-infused stock, letting each ladleful become absorbed as you stir before adding the next. Stir and ladle until the rice is cooked with still a slight bite to it - about 18 minutes, maybe a little before - by which time you will probably have finished all your stock. However, if you find the rice is cooked to the texture you like before the stock's run out, do not finish it.

Turn off the heat, stirring still, and beat in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the Parmesan, then season to taste. Serve immediately with some grated Parmesan on the table.


  1. looks pretty and love the way you described saffron he he

  2. I am thinking maybe the first two reasons:) I discovered saffron in Spanish cooking. You are right, a little saffron goes a long way and it is indeed to difficult to describe the flavor.

    Awesome risotto.


  3. Definitely goes a long way and I just love the gorgeous color. Lovely dish!

  4. Yummy Michael! You're likely to turn into a bowl of risotto if you're not careful!!!

  5. Risotto is one of nature's miracles. Unfortunately we cannot afford saffron just now. There are so many ways to make risotto though that I think we will survive.

  6. Michael-I would so welcome this over the top delicious risotto, but can't stand on my foot that long to keep stirring. I did make a nice long grain rice that took 25 min. to cook, but did not require constant stirring.
    Thank you for your well wishes!

  7. What a beautiful post! A glorious colour! I bet it was worth all the stirring too!

  8. You know, i think "making" risotto is more addictive than actually eating it. It's like going to the church... a little "continuous" stirring ritual. Hahaha.
    Traditionally, this would be served with osso bucco on the side. Yum!

  9. I think it could be a mixture of all three things, Michael...and don't feel bad about that...when I make something this delicious, I pretty much want to lock Chris in another room so I can have it all!!! :)
    The risotto looks and sounds amazing!

  10. I'm a big fan of risotto and this is one I will have to try in the future. Every time I do a taste test it ends up being fine but find myself digging the spoon in for some more "testing" which ends up being almost 1/2 a portion. All three reasons sound legit :)

  11. I love saffron dishes, and I actually have a decent amount in my spice cabinet. Very lovely dish, will want to be trying this :)

  12. I love saffron...but yes, it's expensive. Throw some chopped up asparagus spears in that dish and I am all in!!! Thanks for sharing!