Risotto allo zafferano

This classic risotto is a favourite in Milan and, although simple, the pinch of saffron, which is one of the most expensive ingredients in the world, gives it a hint of luxury, as well as a bright yellow colour. Don't worry - you only need a tiny amount for this recipe so it doesn't break the bank!

Serves: 4

1.2 L fresh stock (the better the stock, the better your risotto - organic works best)
1 onion
1 celery heart (pull away the outer sticks to obtain the central yellow heart)
2 knobs of unsalted butter
1 pinch of saffron threads
450 g Arborio risotto rice
200 mL Pinot Bianco or Verdicchio
80 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation method
Risotto has a reputation for being labour-intensive but this recipe is reasonably simple, as you will see:

1. Pour your stock into a pan and warm on a low heat to reach a simmer.

2. Peel and finely chop the onion and add it to a large high-sided pan* and fry on a medium-low heat with a knob of butter. Sweat the onion for 15 minutes, or until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

3. Add your pinch of saffron threads to a bowl and cover with a small ladleful of hot stock and set aside.

4. Add the risotto rice to your pan with the onion and stir for a couple of minutes to ensure the grains are well coated. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the wine and then allow it to "cook away" completely. Next, add the saffron stock (including the threads) and stir for a few minutes until the stock absorbs into the rice. Now add the remaining stock slowly (i.e., a ladleful at a time and only adding more once each ladleful has been nearly absorbed), with stirring. This should take you about 16 minutes in total. Once the rice is cooked and fluffy, add a final splash of stock to give you a looser consistency.

5. Remove the risotto from the heat and beat in the remaining knob of butter to give a decadently creamy dish, before adding most of the Parmesan (you'll need a little in reserve to sprinkle over the finished dish). Season to taste if you feel it's needed, then cover and leave to sit for 2 minutes, which makes the dish creamier. Finally, give the risotto a stir and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the remaining grated Parmesan.

Milan is one of the most dynamic cities in Italy and is undeniably fashionable and chic. We have lots of holiday options to Milan, including luxury Hen and Stag party packages, shopping trips and fashion week getaways.

*Note that if your pan is too shallow, the stock will evaporate too quickly when it comes to making your risotto.

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