Saffron Risotto Recipe: A Luxurious Italian Dish

Saffron risotto is a luxurious and aromatic Italian dish that combines the creamy goodness of risotto with the delicate flavor and vibrant color of saffron. This recipe will guide you through the process of creating a flavorful and satisfying saffron risotto that can be enjoyed as a main course or served as a side dish.


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri Saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Cooking Instruction:

  1. In a small bowl, steep the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of hot water for about 10 minutes to allow the flavor and color to infuse.
  2. In a separate saucepan, heat the vegetable or chicken broth and keep it simmering on low heat.
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant.
  4. Add the Arborio rice to the pot and stir it around to coat it evenly with the butter and onions. Toast the rice for a couple of minutes until it becomes slightly translucent at the edges.
  5. Pour in the white wine and stir continuously until it is absorbed by the rice.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and begin adding the hot broth to the pot, one ladleful at a time. Stir the rice continuously and allow each ladleful of broth to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked al dente (firm to the bite), but still creamy.
  7. Add the saffron threads along with the liquid they were steeped in. Stir well to evenly distribute the saffron throughout the risotto.
  8. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the grated Parmesan cheese until they are melted and well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Remove the pot from the heat and let the risotto rest, covered, for a couple of minutes.
  10. Serve the saffron risotto hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy!

How to Serve:

  • Saffron risotto can be served as a main course or as a side dish alongside grilled meats or roasted vegetables. Here are a few suggestions on how to serve it:
  • As a standalone dish: Serve the saffron risotto in individual bowls or plates. You can garnish it with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a few strands of saffron for an elegant touch. Pair it with a crisp green salad on the side for a complete meal.
  • As a side dish: Saffron risotto pairs well with a variety of proteins such as grilled chicken, seared fish, or roasted lamb. Serve a portion of the risotto alongside the main protein, allowing the flavors to complement each other.
  • With roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables like asparagus, cherry tomatoes, or mushrooms make excellent companions to saffron risotto. You can either mix the roasted vegetables directly into the risotto before serving or arrange them on top as a flavorful garnish.
  • Remember to serve the saffron risotto hot, as it is at its best when enjoyed freshly prepared.

Extra Notes and Tips:

  1. Saffron is a precious spice, so it’s important to use organic saffron and handle it with care. The flavor and color of saffron can be intensified by crushing the threads slightly before steeping them in hot water. This will release more of the aromatic compounds.
  2. Risotto requires attention and stirring to achieve a creamy texture. Be patient and stir the rice constantly as you gradually add the broth. This process helps release the starch from the rice, resulting in a creamy consistency.
  3. The choice of broth is crucial for the flavor of the risotto. Use a good-quality vegetable or chicken broth to enhance the taste. If possible, opt for homemade broth for the best flavor.
  4. Arborio rice is commonly used for risotto due to its high starch content, which contributes to the creamy texture. However, you can also try other short-grain rice varieties suitable for risotto, such as Carnaroli or Vialone Nano.
  5. Feel free to customize your saffron risotto by adding other ingredients such as cooked peas, sautéed mushrooms, or diced cooked chicken for added texture and flavor.
  6. Leftover risotto can be refrigerated and reheated, but it tends to lose its creamy texture. To revive the creaminess, add a splash of broth or water while reheating and stir gently until heated through.
  7. Finally, don’t forget to savor the delightful aroma and vibrant color of saffron risotto. It’s a dish that can truly elevate your dining experience.

Indulge in the richness of flavors and the mesmerizing aroma of saffron risotto, and let this classic Italian dish transport you to culinary bliss.

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