Saffron Risotto | Italian Classic Risotto Recipe
Another edition of FSB is here with dear gal pal Mittu setting up this month's theme with colors. We had to blind pick a random number that coordinated with a color. Mine turned out to be YELLOW.  The use of artificial colors was to be kept at its minimal (if at all using). Yellow is an easy color to work with since it occurs naturally and the first thought was to post this Italian classic that's made with Saffron. When you think Italian, you think Pizza, Pasta and Risotto. Oh yes, Focaccia too. And..and.. Italian Cannoli. And OMG,  how could I forget - you remember the classic Tiramisu! Phew! That's one narrow escape - I would have been mauled by the dessert lovers for even forgetting it and mentioning it last. But hey, I never claimed to be a dessert person. But this Saffron Risotto here - now that has all my heart and soul.
Saffron Risotto | Italian Classic Risotto Recipe
This was the first risotto recipe I ever tried. The original version uses Beef stock (and marrow) along with cartloads of butter and cheese and of course, generous helping of saffron. My version is vegetarian (duh!) and a non-alcoholic version (Refer tips section if you want to add in some alcohol). I also toned down the fat a bit since, personally, I think that the arborio rice is creamy and delicious enough and does not need such generous dose of butter and oil. This makes for a great gourmet dish for special occasions. We enjoyed it along with grilled vegetables and crusty dinner rolls.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Yields: Serves 2 as Main Course and 4 as an appetizer.
  • 1-1/2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 tsp Saffron strands
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 med-large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste (see Tips)
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • Abt 5 cups of Vegetable stock/water (see Tips)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Vegetarian Parmesan Cheese shaving, to serve
  • 1-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
  • Parsley to garnish
1. Garlic Paste: Instead you can chop 2-3 garlic cloves finely and use it instead. I always have store bought Garlic paste on hand and hence use it (..generously!).
2. Vegetable Stock: The amount of stock or water will vary depending on the quality of the rice and the consistency you like. So you might need 1 cup less or more.

For Alcoholic Version
Replace 2/3 cup of vegetable stock/water with dry white wine for the classic version.
1. Heat the stock/water in a saucepan. Let it come to a boil and then continue  to simmer in low heat throughout the cooking time. You might need less or more water than what's mentioned above. So its better to heat more water and use little by little accordingly.
2. Place the saffron in a bowl along with 1 tbsp of boiling water and let sit until its infused.
3. Melt the butter in another heavy pan. Add the onion and the paste. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
4. Stir in the rice
5. and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes translucent.
6. If using wine - add it now along with saffron and cook until the wine has been absorbed. Otherwise, just add saffron and give it a quick stir
7. until its combined with the rice.
8. Add 2-1/2 cups of stock to the rice and simmer gently until the rice absorbs the stock. Make sure to keep stirring frequently.
9. Now add another cup and repeat the process until the rice is all creamy and tender. Make sure to add the stock little at a time since you might not need all the stock.
10. Once creamy add the zest, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.
Garnish generously with Parmesan shaving, parsley and more pepper while serving. I personally love to drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive oil right on the serving plate just before serving. It adds additional moistness and richness to the risotto. Its best served immediately. Crusty bread completes the meal. Saffron Risotto | Italian Classic Risotto Recipe

Recipe Reference

recipe adapted and put together from various online resources.

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Tiramisu By DK on Feb 27, 2010
Italian Cannoli By DK on Nov 27, 2009
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Asparagus and Pista Risotto By DK on Jul 10, 2010

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By Anna on Aug 13, 2012

One of my favourite dishes :-D Try adding some dried porcini mushrooms( Steinpilze ). I am looking forward to trying some of your indian recipes soon :-D

By Deepti Pawar on Jan 6, 2012

I've never made risotto ever. And, never eaten it here in the US ever, too. I guess you had me at this afterall! Yum!

By Sophie on Jan 4, 2012

I love your easy yet tasty risotto! I love making risotto's a lot! :)

By La @ FoodSlice on Jan 3, 2012

Happy New Year D. The risotto looks very good. I have stayed away from it all this while because i heard in all those Masterchef Australia episodes that even good chefs don't get it right that easily. Looks like this is an inspiration for the likes of me :)

By mridhu on Jan 2, 2012

Yellow yellow dirty fellow! This risotto looks damn good DK. I've never made risotto before... I will surely try this one out.

By Madhuram on Jan 1, 2012

Happy New Year Dhivi. Even I haven't prepared risotto so far. This one is so different from the risottos I have seen so far. A lot of saffron! I didn't know that Italian cuisine used that spice too.